Album Review: Tom Vek – Luck

By on Monday, 9th June 2014 at 12:00 pm

Three years have passed since Tom Vek’s last album outing, 2011’s ‘Leisure Seizure’, and now he’s back to bring summer grooves to the dance-loving public with ‘Luck’. Is he patting himself on the back with the album’s title, or is he wishing for this release to do well? Let us be the judge of that after we have a listen.

‘Sherman (Animals in the Jungle)’ was our first taste of Vek’s latest material. With a driving rhythm, glitchy synth noises and Vek’s trademark droll, unemotional lyrics, I hoped it was a wonderful sign of all the good to come. I was beside myself upon hearing it for the first time. As should be expected from the talented multi-instrumentalist, no two tracks are the same sonically, with loads of layers to explore, which is what I’ve always loved best about his music. But initially, I had trouble getting into this album from the start. Album opening track ‘How Am I Meant to Know?’ sees Vek’s atonal voice bordering on Tibetan monk chanting. Eep.


Luckily (no pun intended), if you can get past the first track, there are much better moments to be had. The rhythmically catchy ‘Pushing Your Luck’ will get your head bopping and toes tapping, and the percussively shimmery start of ‘Trying to Do Better’ gives way to a song that begs for a pair of sunglasses, a sexy dress and dancing heels.

Vek also deserves bonus points for doing exactly what he’s not supposed to (or at least what the charts tell him). Quirky is the best way to describe ‘Ton of Bricks’, which I’m guessing is what Sting would sound like if he tried singing along to an electronic record; it’s a bit marmite though. ‘The Girl You Wouldn’t Leave for Any Other Girl’, an attempt at a ballad, is oddly sympathetic with the squeaking of guitar notes left in on purpose.


So what’s not good on this album? For all its positive robotic attributes, ‘Broke’ gets taken over by those very same robotic noises and wiggly, wiggy synth noises, and the song gets lost. There is a similar issue to ‘You’ll Stay’: it seems like Vek’s voice is fighting with too much instrumentation noise, and he’s losing. As a singer, I can’t help but feel a little sad. Maybe that was the whole point? But then you wonder if maybe he should have just left it as an instrumental.

What’s strange is next track and LP standout ‘The Tongue Avoids the Teeth’ doesn’t suffer from the same vocals vs. music disharmony. Instead, everything is where it should be, in the right volume and in perfect working order with one another, whether it’s the rapid beat that makes your pulse start racing at the half-minute mark, the ‘80s New Wave synth bridge or the way Vek holds his vocal notes to match what he’s hearing in his headphones.

Yes, if you live in a world of Ableton and sequencers, think Robert Moog was a god, etc., this is an exciting album to hear and probably to own. Overall, I liked this album and I’m not surprised that I do. But it still seems hardly accessible to the average music fan. And This seems perfectly fine to the man himself: he says of the album that it’s “garage rock for the ProTools generation”. But probably an even better way to describe the album comes directly from the press release for the album. “As ever, Vek delivers an album that defies straightforward definition.” What you make of that is up to your own musical tastes.


‘Luck’, Tom Vek’s highly anticipated third album, is out today on Moshi Moshi Records. He will be touring the UK in October. For more information on the artist, visit his official Web site.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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