Tom Speight, Collide - album review
Tom Speight's sophomore album Collide is a pop-tinged swish through the lighter side of music.
It's warm, friendly and welcoming - without ever really daring to break the wheel and give us something breathtaking.
Tom's pitched vocal style is a strength. More unique than the music around it, he can captivate with his delivery across these 11 tracks as you are never quite sure whether he will waver at us in his slightly introvert, relaxed style or suddenly release a slight roar to really open the lungs.
Little Love does this a lot. Cautious verses over the top of his acoustic guitar suddenly welcome in a half-shouted chorus in which Tom shows another side to his voice and casts a few surprises.
There's a light rock feel to Heartshaker - built around the kind of chorus favoured by some of the indie-pop heavyweights of recent years such as Two Door Cinema Club. Its party-pop sensibilities are provided via delightful, jangling guitars behind the vocals.
There's a lot more of this 'woo-ooh-woo' aura to Want You. Here, we build in pace and volume towards the chorus in a classic crescendo of guitars and cymbals.
Things are slowed right down on My Name. We're almost in acoustic modern Coldplay territory here as militaristic drumming pushes the track from start to finish. It drifts slightly, but the homely chorus will please many.
Collide was recorded in both Jam Hut Studio in Devon and at Abbey Road in London, with Chris Bond (Ben Howard) providing some slick production that gives it a clean, crisp feel. Tom's got some friends along to add to the melting pot - Lisa Hannigan, Jessica Stavely-Taylor (The Staves), Turin Brakes, Carey Willets (Athlete), Lydia Clowes and Benjamin Francis Leftwich are all involved in adding their experience and differing styles to the record.
But it is one of those where the clean feeling leans a little towards sterile and you end up calling for a little more grit among the pop touches to make it feel more in touch with the harsher world around us.
Tom Speight is live at Birmingham's The Cuban Embassy (The Bull's Head) in Moseley on April 23