Tom Williams Reviews The Singles

Covering The 1975, Lizzo, Grouplove and more…
Tom Williams & The Boat by Mike Massaro

Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t, but last week Clash premiered ‘Easy Fantastic’, the new album from Kent-based folk-rockers Tom Williams & The Boat. And a splendid record it is, too – go and have a listen, why not

(That link not only takes you to a stream, but also an album review and a track-by-track guide, too. Bonuses.)

‘Easy Fantastic’ is out today (May 19th), as are a bunch of new singles, which we’ve sent to Tom Williams for review. Now, the eagle-eyed amongst you will note that half of these tracks were already reviewed last week by The Pictish Trail. That’s a result of People At Clash not communicating properly with each other. Sorry about that. But, hey, second opinions are valuable, right? Right.

Tom’s words follow the video for …& The Boat’s new single, ‘All Day’.

- - -

- - -

Lizzo – ‘Faded’

“This song is initially a pretty fun sounding romp of a beat, that hits the ground running from the get-go. Lizzo then explodes into the first verse only for the baffling and potentially vacuous lyrical content to soon eclipse any good work done thus far. She spends most of the first verse explaining how she’s really good at loads of different stuff, and then the chorus pleading with the listener to not tell her, and her fellow 20-somethings, to ‘slow down’. Unless she’s still living with her parents I’m not totally sure who she’s addressing, but I’m pretty sure that at her age she can do what she damn well wants. I’d like to see her do more of that, as opposed to abiding to any tired lyrical hip-hop clichés.”

- - -

We Were Evergreen – ‘False Start’

“Initially sounding like a young Ezra Koenig singing over a glitchy Phoenix beat, ‘False Start’ twitches and jerks its way through an erratic four minutes, referencing everyone from Everything Everything to ‘Just’-era Radiohead, every twist and turn revealing another genuinely enjoyable turn of phrase or flex of production muscle. The only risk here is that the slickness in production manifests itself in cold, unrelatable surface, but I think We Were Evergreen are just weird enough to make it work.”

- - -

The 1975 – ‘Robbers’

“Having taught a lot of guitar, I’ve always made my excuses when a pupil has asked to learn a 1975 song. There’s something about the sound of their records that I find totally abhorrent. I’m sure it’s mainly due to the lead singer’s voice, the way he says ‘petticoat’, and his pre-pubescent approach to lyric writing. ‘Robbers’ is actually pleasant enough, despite sounding like an East 17 B-side. I wish they’d cut the pretending to be an indie band, black and white photo shtick and knuckle down trying to write something as good as ‘Stay Another Day’.”

- - -

Clean Bandit – ‘Extraordinary’

“This new Clean Bandit single curiously has an almost identical bridge to their number one hit, ‘Rather Be’, a song I’ve had to teach one too many times in guitar lessons. Despite having essentially the same ingredients that made ‘Rather Be’ number one, ‘Extraordinary’ is slightly too schmaltzy a song to have that same 1990s house swagger that made its predecessor work. It’ll still probably fit in quite anonymously with daytime radio playlists, and no doubt be a massive summer smash. Bah humbug.”

- - -

Kwabs – ‘Pray For Love’

“I hadn't heard any of Kwabs previous to hearing this, but this Plan B-produced effort is a stellar slab of slinky, post-apocalyptic soul. The production is understated throughout and the vocal is powerful yet restrained. Holding back just enough to allow the lyric to muster all the grandeur needed, the whole performance is a lesson in a restraint despite the epic refrain. Must find more from Kwabs, big fan.”

- - -

Grouplove – ‘Shark Attack’

“I’ve never heard this lot before, but it’s mental. It sounds like The Lumineers meets The Vengaboys. It’s so weird. It’s an almost unbearably cheery saccharine blast of hatred, cantering into what can only be described as a bizarre electro fuzz hoedown. ‘Shark Attack’ sounds like it might have been produced by the same person who did Avril Lavigne’s recent ‘Hello Kitty’ single, this song has left me feeling confused and angry.”

- - -

Find Tom Williams & The Boat online here. More singles columns like this, read ‘em here.

Related: Tom Williams & The Boat album stream + track-by-track guide

Buy Clash Magazine
Get Clash on your mobile, for free: iPhone / Android

Have your say

Sign in or Register to leave comments
-