Release Date: Oct 4, 2011
Record label: Downtown
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic
Dear Thomas Vernon-Kell,Hello. I’m OK. It’s been a while. What’s up with that? I have to say, I was surprised to hear from you. Six years without word? Well, when you wrote “I Ain’t Saying My Goodbyes,” I guess you actually meant it. No matter, I’m glad to hear from you again and hope ….
As reflected in the title of his second album, Leisure Seizure, Tom Vek took his time following up his acclaimed debut We Have Sound. Five years, to be exact. The way he spent that half-decade wasn’t exactly lackadaisical, though: he took three years to build his own East London studio and teaching himself different production techniques, and another two writing the songs that became this album.
Arriving on Earth in May 2011 like a gawky Time Lord, [a]Tom Vek[/a] has jumped forward in time from 2005 to save music. Like his fellow Gallifreyan Dr Who, Vek is a bit unhip and on the surface less technologically advanced than his adversaries, the Blubstep Jims. To people on Planet Earth it will appear as if he’s been away for six years, but he doesn’t have time to explain the theory of relativity to slowcoaches, he’s here to save us from people with expensive haircuts weeping lachrymose nothings into infernal Auto-Tune units.
Tom Vek first crossed my radar during his one-night-only performance at the fictitious Bait Shop for a group of disinterested teens on The O.C. Mixing catchy, messy dance beats with elements ranging from lo-fi to pop, Vek’s music samples a bit of everything. But Vek, who first released We Have Sound in 2005, vanished with a prolonged hiatus. He mysteriously continued to promise a new release, but many doubted his return.
Like obituaries of world leaders, the reviews of Tom Vek’s second album might easily have been written before the event prompting their publication had even occurred. Because let’s face it, there’s already enough to say about the six years that have passed since We Have Sound was released to fill the fattest column of the most in-depth reviews page. Initially, Leisure Seizure was always going to be about debunking the myth surrounding Vek’s disappearance from the music scene.
British songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom Vek popped up in the mid-2000s as part of a wave of clever, twitchy, studio-centric punk-funk acts following on the early success of the Rapture and DFA. He wasn't necessarily part of that scene, but he benefited from having a fashionable context, and so his debut album, We Have Sound, was a modest success. After that record, Vek essentially disappeared from the pop landscape as he went about setting up his own studio and gradually piecing together his second album, Leisure Seizure.
The name Tom Vek has hardly ascended to household stature, but the paradox-friendly and bespectacled British solo man would probably be even less known if he weren’t so musically unproductive. Unlike most other artists of his generation, in the six years it took to follow up 2005’s somewhat groundbreaking We Have Sound, Vek shunned all social networking platforms and kept to himself. By going the zipped tight route, Vek has cocooned his work in a largely unmatched air of speculation.
What makes an artist slip beneath the depths of anonymity? Multi-instrumentalist Tom Vek could tell you how it feels to self-impose oneself into a laughable form of mystique, especially when his album tally hadn’t even sum up to two. As years kept rolling along, that question crept into mind more than once: where is Tom Vek, and what had caused him to perform a disappearing magic act? The long-awaited unveiling isn’t enigmatic, surprising, or controversial. All this time, Vek was pouring different solutions inside test tubes in his programming den, prolonging the grand appearance until his mad experiment would gauge the exact scientific formula.
Electro whiz-kid Tom Vek all but disappeared after his hotly tipped but minor-selling 2005 debut; Facebook groups were set up to find him. It transpires that Vek was up to nothing more mysterious than trying to find a studio in which he felt comfortable, but his second album suggests he has also visited the slough of despond. There's an existential gloominess we'd expect from Radiohead or Pink Floyd.
Six years is a long time in any industry, but especially for musicians. Inscrutable London alt-rocker Tom Vek originally dropped onto the scene with his somewhat promising 2005 debut, We Have Sound. He eschewed garage rock’s nasty guitar riffs for serpentine bass lines, half-spoken vocals, and metallic percussion. As a result, the LP registered as a minor blip on most radars.
There's enough here to satisfy aficionados of offbeat, fiercely inventive pop music. Nick Levine 2011 How many years has it been since Tom Vek released his debut album, We Have Sound? So many that the elusive Londoner even promoted the now semi-legendary record by making a cameo appearance on The O.C., the US teen drama series that's long since been consigned to "dusty box-set at the back of the shelf" status. Hence, the pertinent question: does the self-taught multi-instrumentalist still have something special to offer in the more kaleidoscopic musical climate of 2011? The answer is a resounding yes – largely because the erstwhile Thomas Timothy Vernon-Kell still has a thrillingly singular way with rhythm.