Published Nov 01, 2005Heralded as a lo-fi wunderkind in Britain, Londons Tom Vek has taken his DIY ethics and crafted a wonderfully expansive debut album. We Have Sound finds the 23-year-old avoiding the standard singer-songwriter traps and delving deeper into the pop format to experiment with his vast musical ambitions. Playing every instrument on the album, whether he knows how to or not, Vek has developed a unique sound thanks to certain limitations as a musician. "C-C (You Set the Fire in Me) sounds like it was designed with a cheap thrift shop Casio synth, with Vek singing over a hip-hop flavoured drum loop. "I Aint Saying My Goodbyes breaks into Bloc Party territory with a trendy disco beat and an unforgettable chorus. Changing up the pace with each track, he never loses the knack for setting up a good groove, like on the mid-tempo "If You Want, which manhandles the slap bass and adds a layer of heavenly synths and cowbells. "Nothing But Green Lights, however, is the showstopper, taking Talking Heads "Once in a Lifetime and using it as barefaced inspiration to create a blissfully accompanied narrative. Vek is a refreshing spirit with sharp inventiveness and this record is a true testament to what you can do with little know-how and a lot of determination.
How do you react to the constant use of words like "sloppy and "clumsy to describe your music? Theyre words I would have probably used in some kind of modest, putting it down kinda way, but its funny because the whole "lo-fi, messy thing wasnt a deliberate stylistic choice as Ive been asked before. Its because I had a shit guitar going into a shit amp recorded by a shit mic onto a shit multi-tracker and to be honest, I think I did quite well!
What instrument were you less confident in playing on the album? I find it even more exciting when an instrument is a struggle to play or is doing things you werent intending. I think thats why I continued playing them to the level Im at now.
The sequencing of the album is interesting because the listener never quite gets settled into a groove. Was that on purpose? Id been fascinated with track orders of albums and always thought it was so important; I think most importantly, you gotta start strong, and C-C is still my favourite track. I really like the order of the record. I agree that the songs should stand out as individual segments; if they all start to blend together it defeats the point. (Star Time International)