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Tom Slatter - Happy People CD (album) cover


Tom Slatter


Crossover Prog

4.00 | 4 ratings

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4 stars Tom Slatter - Happy People. It was a dark, dystopian, near future, probably a Monday when the fabled Tom Slatter 5th Album slipped through a crack in time, post marked Bridlington ? City of Culture. It had landed on the coir mat of the old farmhands' cottage with a squelch; strange I would expect a thud, but a squelch it was. The Album had come from the future, with all the procrastination involved in its production there was no way it had come from the present. A mirror universe, hence the term "Mubla", a word non-word, that I believe I may have coined, this was rapidly absorbed by the select group geared to encouraging this project to be completed. I released in from its transit envelope in a jiffy, and smelt the packaging. The scent of Old Spice, Brut 33, and Riggwelter permeated the air; from this I deduced through time via Yorkshire. Placed in the steam driven laptop, the security software coughed, yelped, and fell silent. I was going to have to listen without protection. Happy People. A strange title given the pessimistic questions it posed, of Tom's and many of the rest, of us' fears of the future to come. It's a promising start, and upbeat; prog not prog. This was the declaration of the head Elephant, I agree in part, but conceptually, lyrically and with the shape of the words and music that take shape in the ether, it is progressive enough. It hints at progs past, hidden in a chamber of many doors where toast is consumed with evil jam intentional or not, it is there, I read one review of Tom's vocal performance, I was disappointed, Tom is a singer/songwriter and there imbues his music with the feelings and emotions of the words he wrote; it is fine, and not even the rumours of 20000 monkey's with typewriters over seen by a lederhosen clad gang master in a remote German village in preparation for album 6, can dissuade me as such. Rumours, just rumours. It is a jaunty little number, even when you the words their meaning, Mr S is a minstrel, a troubadour, a sort of John Cooper Clark or Billy Bragg, but with better diction. It is a voice that represents Tom culturally as well as sonically, and perhaps the many years under the tutelage of Chorister Stan, a strange misfit who took to wearing his robes full time; that have informed Tom's vocal performance. Is he posh? I think not. Even when addressing his future fears, that face of adversity trait oft found in people, the artists' observation and wit shine through. Perhaps more so with an immanent election with a selection of candidates no one wants to choose. How does he address his concerns? With song about them, and I hold no belief in the gossip of an accompanying dance, pish! Different songs, different concerns, different voices and one that expresses them well; a singer who sings his own songs. Does Ed the Red (Sheeran) get the same critique of his art? Satellites, watching, observing, but who watches the watchers? Privacy gone, or is it the future or may be the past? Work camps, history or mystery, who knows come what May. I admire the manner in which such worries are addressed. Each song paints a picture, and perhaps they are painted black, but fear is a motivation for change and before the time that the policeman's tears will flow. There is so much variety here, it is a clever album (smart Alec), diverse in style, but to my ears still crossover prog at its core. People who follow Tom (and the stalkers) will be Happy. The Evil music mogul has been reported as smiling. Tom is "Happy" ? Before I sound too maudlin, I do like this album very much, it has a darkness like the cyber novels of Jeff Noon, but with a hint of hope (hope, we'll soon stop that). Yes, with the current state of the world (Even Then) We're Scared, but where better than music to seek to address our fears. Fire. Flower.Heart. Romantic? Well sort of, and yet throughout this album the music has a life and an energy that carries you with it. His worst vocal is on Tracking Signals, it's an instrumental, which in itself may be a taste of the threatened album with no words (monkeys on strike for better working conditions). It is not a chore to listen, and by the time words have been composed into sentences (vaguely), I have listened many times, sang along (now that is bad), mubla'd a bit, and played again. Two remaining tracks, both spirited and laced with darkness. But should you add this to your burgeoning Bad Elephant collection? Quirky? Well what is normal anyway? It is a valuable piece, it's fun (don't say that, he'll get cross). Buy it so he may purchase more hair products for his flowing locks, one must look after the Poet L'Oréal. (Damn, needs more puns!). It is a great album, all those years spent at the grind stone, occasionally more than just looking at it, the trials and tribulations of the choir years, to produce this, yes, indeed we have much to thank Cassock Stan for. Please note, due to my desire to frequently pun, Tom has actually banned me from listening. Needless to say, I have ignored him. You, Prog reader should not however, or you will miss a very good album. Tom will be making live appearances latter in the year, some with a band! I have a portable grassy knoll. Can I go back to Lab 558 now please?

Tracks Happy People A Name In A File Satellites Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said Even Then We're Scared Fire Flower Heart Tracking Signals Set Light To The Sky All Of The Dark

Musicians Tom Slatter Vocals, Guitar Daniel Bowles Backing vocals, guitars, keyboards Jordan Brown Bass, Backing Vocals, Keyboards Michael Cairns Drums Suzette Stamp Backing Vocals

Purchase from Bandcamp

Cetacean282 | 4/5 |


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