Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tom Vek- Leisure Seizure REVIEW

The circumstances of Tom Vek’s disappearance from the musical world after his freshman album, We Have Sound, are almost as mysterious as the hybrid sounds he casually introduced to the world pre-vanishing act. After bursting onto the sonic scene with his bizarre combo of indie chord progression and electro-dance beats, he dropped out of the spotlight, then seemingly off the face of the earth. Yet, his music remained for the rest of the blossoming indie/garage rock genre to poke and pry. Sizeable amounts of We Have Sound are responsible for pushing the indie hipster sound from reasonable popularity to infectious trend. Bands like Franz Ferdinand are obviously indebted to how Vek’s first album set the table for fashionable indie accessibility. And his influence is also heard in artists as varied as Patrick Wolf- whose career may predate Vek, but whose 2007 LP The Magic Position surely does not. His sudden absence in 2006 inflated the entity that is Tom Vek to a near-mythic status. For five years, people wondered where he went, where he was, or if he was ever really here to begin with. So it goes without saying that Leisure Seizure, his nonchalant return to the spotlight, is met with a large degree of forehead-slapping- “Of course he would arrive as effortlessly as he disappeared,” collective opinion seems to say.

As far as the new album goes, it is not as genre-pushing as We Have Sound- nor does it try to be. It’s a more modest, inverted work. While it does feature Vek’s trademark brash melodies, here the musical anarchist feels sanitized under tighter construction. “I’m a lost cowboy/waiting for the truth” Vek croons as he begins Leisure Seizure with the bluesy “Hold Your Hand”- a brilliantly alive tune that boasts a particularly rugged percussive time signature. The musical elements are all over the place, but the production feels more reliable and restrained. Leisure Seizure has much better manners than its predecessor- an album that seemed to recklessly leave piles of crumbs in its wake. The cleaner sensibility has much to do with the relative absence of punk influence this time around. Leisure Seizure is predominantly electronic based; most of its chord progression is complementary to whatever bizarro synth line Vek cooks up. However, the cascading snare and dynamic percussion still play a decisive role on urgently paced tracks like “Seizemic” and “A.P.O.L.O.G.Y.”. Beginning with “Close Mic’ed” and its sonic drone, the latter half of the album moves into early Aphex Twin territory with its scattered noises and distant echoes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t- “On a Plate” sporadically utilizes a piano opposite a driving electro-oddity; it is an interesting experiment that never really takes off the way it wants to. Bright in tone, moody in structure, this is ultimately a smaller work for Tom Vek- thus, more tantalizing than truly enjoyable. We desperately want Leisure Seizure to be far ahead of its time- instead, we must be content with it being only ahead of the curve.

Tom Vek - Leisure Seizure (2011) by modularpeople

No comments:

Post a Comment