‘Thumping bass and tom-tom rhythms make the title track an immediate crowd pleaser.’
Re-intro to Tom:
First discovering Tom Grennan back in March when I stumbled upon his 2016 release ‘Something in the Water,’ his latest EP release ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For,’ builds on the same musical ideas: a relatively simple accompaniment combined with a raw sounding vocal. However, while this is the case, unlike his earlier release, this rawness can sometimes become a little too much. Read on to find out why.
Track 1: Found What I’ve Been Looking For
Like the EP itself, the title track is one that is filled with anticipation before you have even heard a single note. You expect it to really say something about where Tom’s musical journey is now at, and indeed find out if it has reached its destination. Opening with up-tempo funk infused riffs, it couldn’t be more different to the final track on his 2016 EP ‘Something in the Water,’ (which I reviewed here) and immediately you realise he has come a long way.
Gone are the acoustic influences, gone are the stripped back sounds and instead we are met with a sound that feels more Jack Savoretti than Tom Grennan. However, this is no bad thing and while it is the case, the trademark tone discovered in his acoustic music feels right at home in amongst the thumping bass and tom-tom rhythms that occur throughout. It has drive, it has energy and with an incredibly catchy chorus, you can imagine festival crowds joining in straightaway. Above all, you really do get a sense that this is the sound that he’s been looking for.
Track 2: First Day of the Sun
After what was such a full-on opening track, we are thrown off course (in what turns out to be a rather pleasant manner) with a return to the acoustic influenced music featured in his other EPs. In an almost hill-billy style, ‘First day of the Sun’ opens up with heavily panned guitar ideas which combine acoustic bass lines with picked and strummed chords. It’s a lovely sound and with its unexpected chord changes and real country feel, there is much to enjoy. Additionally, while lines such as ‘my wine has turned to water’ and ‘someone flashed a bill, I thought I’d best not intervene’ have more than a slight aspect of being down on luck about them, the lighthearted, almost ironic sounding accompaniment, gives them a humorous nature. This isn’t however the whole musical story as with uses of harmony and vowel-based melodies later in the track, literally another layer of Tom’s great musicality can be heard.
Track 3: Silhouette
Unfortunately, the musicality of Track 2 doesn’t continue into Track 3 ‘Silhouette’ and in some ways you can’t help but feel that Tom’s vocal slightly loses its way. This is really surprising as after an introduction formed of a delicate and relaxing broken chord based piano melody, Tom’s vocal enters with a much harsher tone. It jolts you and as the track continues, the erratic pitch changes and overly-passionate – sometimes strained sounding vocal – unsettles, you making it hard to connect with. There is however, a lot of musicality, particularly in the accompaniment, and with an Einaudi-esque feel to them, you are left in the dark as to why this track there. Thankfully though, it is perfectly clear why the two remaining tracks are.
Track 4: Found What I’ve Been Looking For (Acoustic)
Returning to where the EP began, the penultimate track gives us an acoustic version of ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For.’ Unlike the original, this one is free flowing and with jazz influenced guitar and piano phrases, it proves that some tracks can be just as successful in both forms. Closing the EP, ‘Alive’ is the perfect acoustic finisher and with a similar feel to the previous track, there is for the first time a sense of unity. There is also a sense of emotion, and unlike earlier, while passionate, it is more restrained, allowing you connect with it. It isn’t a tongue-in-cheek up-tempo setting of depressing lyrics (nor is it the most uplifting ending to an album I’ve ever heard,) what it is though, is a track that combines a meaningful accompaniment with equally meaningful lyrics. It is, in short, the very sound I’ve been looking for.
Tom’s latest EP ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’ is available on multiple platforms, and while you’re downloading it, why not give his latest single ‘Royal Highness’ a listen. Containing all the best features of his music, it is definately well worth discovering.