A Modern Way
Steel River Delivers Another Set of Gems.
I recently heard a very interesting discussion about the effects of lockdown on artists that had just made it onto the ‘middle rungs of the ladder’ prior to March.
Interesting, it certainly was; but my thoughts and my heart too, went out to those artists who need someone to buy them a ladder from B&Q, just so they can try to get their foot on the bottom rung!
Surely all musicians are in the same boat; although to differing degrees.
The absence of live music gigs means that those trying to make a mark must be finding it really tough; and this must apply to acts like Tom Joshua more than most, with the almost inevitable loss of his Hit The North Festival appearance – a real shame because this EP is an absolute little gem to my ears.
I knew little about him apart from the release of a single that was very well received in terms of ‘hits,’ but after hearing this beauty he would definitely be on my ‘one to watch’ list.
The ‘Undergrowth’ video certainly comes into the odd category but so do most music videos these days to my old eyes. It seems as though the more unusual the better BUT this backed by a great vocal and sadly, that is not always the case.
He has a voice very much along the lines of Everything Everything offerings, a sort of falsetto that is ideally suited to his words.
Apparently, it is based on a rather (odd) dream Tom had and it is his Teesside friends that play the equally odd roles in the nocturnal setting.
The middle verse is the one that will get fans up and bouncing – 100% guaranteed.
‘Cinema’ is a very smooth opening track dealing with the singer describing himself to be
‘born to imagine things greater than himself’
with his love of the cinema and the ‘score that took his heart’.
This would not be out of place on a album by a lot of the current fashionable singer/songwriters.
An altogether cracking little number.
‘Knock On A Hollow’ is about a row of deserted shops in Tom’s home town of Eaglescliffe, above which he was living and is probably the toe tapper of the EP.
It moves along at an upbeat level and for me, it would be the last track on a live set or the encore (if these still take place).
‘This Is Still Life’, brings this set to a great finale after opening with a piano that could be taken straight from Bruce Hornsby (before he became a bit more way out and wacky).
His voice and the production by Cam Blackwood (BSP and George Ezra) dovetail beautifully.
The EP was produced at the Voltaire Studio in London and it is certainly easy to see the influences of Big Thief etc. but overall, this is a Tom Joshua offering and he provides a great performance throughout.
Let me know when you hit Newcastle Tom – I will be in that queue.
Review by Bill Redhead
Released October 9th 2020