Highlights: Broke, Trying To Do Better, You’ll Stay, Let’s Pray
Any man of talent should be a genius once in a while. It’s axiomatic. If that is not the case, talent is delusional. The question is, how does Tom Vek fit into that idea? Well, there’s a chance you’re not familiar with Tom’s two previous albums (both are amazing, incidentally), but do yourself a favour and listen to his new song “Broke”. If that silly, deranged synth riff you hear isn’t musical genius, nothing is.
“Tongue avoids the teeth on a daily basis”. Tom Vek is a man who knows how to do quirky with taste and catchy with style. Luck, his third album in what sounds like 10 very long years, is all about that. I may dislike the idea of huge gaps between records, but in Tom’s case you have to accept the rules. The man’s a goddamned perfectionist, and every second on this album has been thought to death.
Besides, it is nice to have an album that is actually an event. An obscure, underrated event, but an event nonetheless. Two things make it work. Tom Vek has a very distinct style, and he knows his way around hooks. These hooks attack your brain like zombies in a violent computer game that just keeps getting faster and faster. But it is all so brilliantly tied together by Tom Vek’s stylish, cool, detached vocal intonations. It’s not emotional, it’s clever. The way he starts it all with a repetitive, lazily engaging groove of “How Am I Meant To Know”. The way musical phrases of “Trying To Get Better” seem so different yet seamless. The way he breaks it up with the Spanish-tinged, melancholic guitar of “The Girl You Wouldn’t Leave For Any Other Girl”. Even when it is ugly and disheveled (“Mistakes”), it still works (almost). By way of all those synthesizers, drum machines, echoey vocals and god knows what other sounds Tom uses with such artistry and expertise.
“You’re skating on thin ice with a heavy heart”. This line starts “Pushing Your Luck”, and it just might be the perfect description of this album. Luck is edgy, claustrophobic, intelligent. It has dance beats, but they will not get you on the dance floor.