Tomo “Wayward Son” (Independent, 2020)

Wayward Son’ is the first independent release EP from Tomo, a Bristol-based indie-folk songwriter. It was all recorded and produced by Tomo at his parents’ house in Somerset. There are no trivial topics explored in this collection, the lyrical structure is poetic throughout but each song explores dark and introspective themes, which is in contrast to a consciously bright, albeit melancholy musical composition.

Radio Transmission’ reflects on the bleak prospects and feelings of the individual in our modern Dystopian society. It is difficult to describe any song detailing the aspects of social disorder and breakdown with a positive manner, nonetheless the musical style is reminiscent of psychedelic folk and the resultant feel of his music is altogether somewhat more optimistic, strange as that may seem. ‘Enough to Drink’ is a brooding, pensive song concerning self-worth and alcohol. A poetic composition concerning alcohol is probably not surprising given he cites the influence of Charles Bukowski.

Dionysus’ is delightfully cynical in its outlook, ‘Children raised on Jesus selling coke in burnt out clubs’. It provides the best sing-along chorus on the EP ‘Dionysus would be proud of all the bodies lying passed out on the ground’ accompanied by gentle piano, guitar and vocal harmonies. The title song ‘Wayward Son’ is the most straightforward song on the album being composed of vocals and accompanying guitar in the classic singer-songwriter mould. ‘Sacred Heart’ employs a vocal style that is reminiscent of the Fleet Foxes and has a marked hymnal quality in line with its title.

The characteristic song structure employed throughout using acoustic fingerpicked guitar with layered production along with his delicate vocals provides a light and elegant quality to the music. He has managed to combine the personal exploration of many negative themes in the songwriting with a musical style that is ethereal and sensitive. This feels essential, in order to mitigate the direct nature of the subject matter and he achieves this result with some considerable aplomb.

Delicate and poetic ambient folk darkness
6/10

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