Tom Vek – Luck (Album Review)

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A uniquely vital figure on the indie-electro scene, Tom Vek returns with ‘Luck’: his third full length album of self proclaimed ‘garage rock for the pro-tools generation.’

Idiosyncratic monotone lyrical delivery and stylised disco beats are what characterise Vek’s sound – they interlock into the moody, attitude infused robotic melodic electro pop that has propelled him into the indie spotlight since his 2005 debut ‘We Have Sound.’

The first single ‘Broke,’ released as a double A-side with ‘Sherman (Animals in the Jungle),’ splices together machine-like synth, guitar riffs and metallic crunching beats into towering crescendo melodies. On the flip side ‘Sherman (Animals in the Jungle)’ harks back to previous Vek classics such as ‘Nothing But Green Lights’ (from debut album ‘We Have Sound’), with flashing synth, catchy piano riffs and relentless vocal rhymes. Their deceptively simple lyrical content – another Vek trademark –  belies their expressive complexity – the track is a social moral commentary inspired by novel ‘The Bonfire of the Vanities’ by Tom Wolfe.

Then ‘The Girl You Wouldnʼt Leave for any Girl’ is a lo-fi aural curiosity with solo guitar riff and single repeated vocal line. An introspective afterthought that expresses a lot with very little. Then the album launches back into electro indie-rock of ‘A Mistake,’ with heavy, crunching all-encompassing bass line and contrasting alto guitar and vocal.

Also included on the album is ‘You’ll Stay’ – its shimmering curtains of reflective electro and catchy rhythmic, simply stated poetic lyrics build to an emotive crescendo in the final section. Its contrasting melodic layers and soaring guitar riff approach a rare break out of Vek’s ruthlessly monotone delivery. Previously released as a lone download single back in April 2012, it’s a welcome inclusion on the full length.

It’s the up-tempo pace contrasted with the downbeat, monotone feel of these tracks that give them their dramatic punch and punk rock-esque attitude. Vek knows how to sound irresistibly in vogue without trying, to express malcontent without breaking sweat, and romantic intent without looking you in the eye. These are inarguably great sounding tracks, and this, combined with the undeniable humanity and intelligence embedded in these tunes, is what keeps you coming back for more. ‘Luck’ again proves that Vek’s place in the indie elite is well deserved.

Sherman (Animals in the Jungle)/Broke are available in a limited edition run of 100 white 7” with printed sleeve designed by Vek himself. Available at selected independent record shops nationwide.