Review by Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers
Tom Loffill: On The Surface (album)
On this impressively quirky collection of songs, offbeat one-man band Tom Loffill is revealed as a sophisticated talent disguised as a primitive creative genius.
Playing virtually every instrument himself, on first listen this former Knaresborough musician’s debut album comes across as throwaway fuzzed-up garage rock for people who like a little bit of electronica - a bit like Clinic mixed with Prinzhorn Dance School and Suicide in a lo-fi fashion.
But prolonged listening to this 11-track album recorded partly in his bedroom in London shows there’s more to this eclectic talent than scratchy guitar, geeky vocals and melodic but slightly sinister basslines.
There’s also a flair for memorable pop tunes on tracks such The Luncheon State and the title track with its fantastically nagging “they say hi, they say heh” hook.
Even the nicest moments come with hints of subversive dischord.
The feedback-laden No Shops in Hell, for example, could be the sister track of The Velvet Underground’s classic Sister Ray.
Best of all, the phenomenal New Year, a gorgeous, piano-led, faux naive ballad which any mainstream act would kill for.
I’ve got a feeling that On The Surface won’t be the final word from the versatile Tom Loffill in terms of musical direction.
In the meantime, On The Surface is already one of my favourite albums of this type since Young Marble Giants’ classic Colossal Youth.