Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tommy Larkin Music : Truth in anger

Galveston, Texas indie alt-country pop wizard Tommy Larkin presents a batch of songs that speak of breakup, regret, tornados, earthquakes, corporate greed and annoying co-workers on his new album "Truth in Anger". What first struck me as unique was the tone and style of Larkin’s vocals. He has a style similar to Beta Band, Ween , The Frogs and in some instances Jay Farrar. The half sung/half spoken word style lends itself well to the acoustic guitars, odd assortment of percussion and quirky keyboards. Larkin certainly has a consistent presence and style on this record and knows how to craft a song with a sense of humor as well as a good dose of truthiness. "Typing and Cursing" is relatable to anyone who’s worked in an IT department and has a bluesy lead guitar hook ala Jack White. Ending relationships is a recurring theme throughout this album and I feel several of these songs may be therapy for the writer in letting go of the past and moving on. "The meaner you are" parts 1-5 may be a bit redundant but send a clear message that being alone is much better than a bad romance filled with passive-aggressive actions. I would have kept this to a single, longer track. "Something Happened" is very effective in relaying the cost of war in a very personal way. "Nicki Bradshaw", a song told in the third person accounts the tragedy of a tornado and uses nice vocal effects and instrumentation to bring the listener into the storm, but I felt the effects were a bit distracting from the message of loss being relayed in the track. "California fault line" is my favorite track on the album evoking imagery of earthquakes as a metaphor for a love relationship split apart. This track has a country feel, with some creative backing vocals. "Mississippi Canyon 252" is certainly a topical track related to corporate greed, lack of accountability and fraud. This track is presented with anger but also a sense of humor in the last third of the song. It’s an anti-corporate protest song for a new generation. The production on this record is fairly professional, more so than some of the instrumentation but when it all comes together with Tommy’s unique vocal style and message it’s really quite enjoyable.

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