The Black Hole exclusive, Tom Cloud, makes a comeback with his second studio album. And in a way it might be a surprise ‘cause even the promotional channels were silent about the album till two weeks before the release. Let’s see how much the sound of Tom Cloud has progressed during the past two years.
By default it's always a bad idea to have expectations for any release. That is because most of the time we end up with a broken heart or crushed dreams, we end up being too harsh and critical to the new sounds and sometimes we over-judge the release. The memory of Cloud's first album is still somewhere in my head, but it's very vague, and I wasn't able to build any expectations and was pushed further by nothing else but a simple novelty based curiosity.
The album wrapping while pleasing the eye from the first look, after the second one seems to be lacking substance. The booklet is only three pages and offers only credits for tracks. There is no illumination on why, how or for whom, leaving too many unanswered questions from the listeners' side. Leaving no interest to ever take it out from the jewel case.
The music of the album balances between uplifting and progressive flavors (within each single track) rather not blurring the boundaries but trying to balance between both. On the broader view the presence of only one new melodic (somewhat melodic) uplifting track – “After Dark
” – and the plethora of dark progressive shades, points to its succession of the first album “A New Day
”. However the new Blum’s portfolio is more fast-paced on the average view and this perspective rests on the shoulders of old-school-infused tracks “Stella
” and “Empire
” and of course the remake of “C-Sharp
Antonia Lucas doesn’t offer much to the diversity of the album even though she is featured in three tracks and is the only vocalist invited. She is the key element in “Crazy 4 U
” which utilizes the vocals and vocal effects the best and promises the track a future of a single. Lyrics are no exception – soul and heart strings remain untouched nor is there any pondering that would challenge the Deep Thought.
The Sum Up
To cut to the chase – the album suffers from too lengthy tracks and some filler moments (“Confusion
” and “The Darkest Star
”), lack of variance and vocal diversity. There are a few intriguing tracks but they are not sufficient to sustain the album as one whole structure.
The fact that we hold this album in our hands means that Thomas Blum felt like he has something substantial to give us. But after two years there is a trace of only a small progression in his sounds. Whether that means that Tom likes sticking ‘true to his style’ or maybe it is just 'lack of inspiration' – I will leave it for you to judge. In two years however I hope to see a bit different Tom's approach to music and album structure in general.
Recommended Tracks: Crazy 4 U, Stella, Empire, After Dark.
Out now on Black Hole recordings.
4 O'Clock in the Morning (Promise Me)
The Sky Is the Limit
Crazy 4 U (with David Forbes featuring Antonia Lucas)
Do It Over (featuring Antonia Lucas)
The Darkest Star