Artist: Tom Vek
Record Label: Island Records
In the world of Tom Vek, the multi-instrumentalist is close to becoming prolific. Vek dropped his debut LP, ‘We Have Sound’ in 2005 to widespread praise then consequently fell off the planet for six years. During this just over half a decade period, Vek almost became a myth; the forgotten man of awkward bedroom indie-dance. Then 2011 saw ‘Leisure Seizure’ signalling the return of the Londoner and again the musical world went cockahoop. Now it’s 2014 and Vek has readied his third LP, ‘Luck’ a mere three years after his sophomore. Having halved the wait time, things look promising for LP4, at this rate in 18 months, we’ll have another dose of Vek treated indie-tronica.
The formula from record to record hasn’t been trifled with that much, there’s an interlinking thread between all three LP’s that casts Vek’s sound as his unwavering trademark. ‘Luck’ is again forged by robust, upfront drums beats, synthetic waves of synth and Vek’s tuneful monotone. The latter being a beguiling prospect, because in truth the musical architect possess a fairly ambiguous tone but when projected against the skittering instrumentation of ‘Luck’ and the albums that have come before, the subsequent puzzle pieces link up to make something rather charming.
Fans of jittering, beat driven, long slung bass style pop, akin to Metronomy, will lap up ‘Luck’, especially in light of Joe Mount’s crew damping their indie disco wares of ‘Love Letters’. ‘Tongue Avoids The Teeth’ shuffles with an ADHD quality, with a staccato cannon of percussion and broad guitar strokes. ‘Pushing Your Luck’ bobs and quivers with a humming jaunt that’s buoyed by interchanging blips and bleeps. Equally, ‘Broke’ is where Vek segues in a Caribbean feel (almost) with an electronic layer that chimes with the hue of a steel drum that wraps itself around a malfunctioning, robotic crackle. Incandescent blasts of electronics and rapid fire drumming marry up with angular guitar stabs on recent single ‘Sherman (Animals in the Jungle)’, making for a pleasing moment of urgency on ‘Luck’.
There are two insistences where the formula doesn’t click on ‘Luck’. Sonically ‘Ton of Bricks’, is where Vek appears to be tinkering with toy instruments making for a provincial sound motif. And again, the volley of drums illustrates a steadfast backbone to how Vek constructs his wares. However, our protagonist’s vocal is conveyed as overwrought and weak as opposed to the deadpan delivery found elsewhere on his third outing. ‘Ton of Bricks’ falls at the heart of the record and disappointingly upsets the momentum that ‘Luck’ has gathered. Subsequent tracks make up for this hiccup but the feeling of full steam ahead never reaches the higher gears you’d want. Aside from the awkward organic electronica, ‘The Girl You Wouldn’t Leave For Any Other Girl’ demonstrates Vek’s raw leanings as his arsenal is stripped back to a fingers-squeaking-against-acoustic-strings lonely lament that aches with an intimate, demo like refrain. It’s here again, where Vek seems to be wading out of depth in the vocal stakes with his voice straining when passions run high, which ends up in the range of mawkish instead of emotive.
Cutting down his turn around time for LP3 is something to get excited about and on the whole ‘Luck’ is a solid continuation in Vek’s sonic mission statement – despite the odd blip here and there, the London based artist still maintains is unique aural appeal with a bunch of intricately crafted songs.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams