Of all the possible comebacks, this was probably the most unthinkable. Missing in action since 2005’s debut We Have Sound, Tom Vek disappeared from the music scene, leaving no clues behind as to his whereabouts. Whilst his debut album was well received, it passed with little fanfare, but the myth has grown, leaving both an air of expectation and excitement about his return.
From the outset, it seems as though not a lot has actually changed in Tom Vek’s world. There is no obvious explanation or justification for his disappearance, as he enigmatically re-introduces himself with ‘Hold Your Hand’ as “a lost cowboy waiting for the truth.” The clattering drums and synth chords will sound familiar to his patient fans, whilst Vek sounds dangerously close to anthemic. ‘Aroused’ quickly follows, and the reasons behind Vek’s disappearance begin to reveal themselves – he’s spent time making a great record. Destined to be on heavy rotation in indie clubs throughout the summer, its complex rhythms and urgent guitar riff wouldn’t sound out of place on a Battles record.
‘A Chore’, the song which signalled his return, sounds like an old friend already. Whilst it’s a sure fire crowd pleaser and doesn’t in any way sound dated, you get the feeling that this would not have sounded out of place on We Have Sound. ‘We Do Nothing’ is much more intriguing, leaving behind some (admittedly unsatisfactory) hints about what on earth he’s been up to, repeating “we do nothing with our time” over an aggressive, irresistible drum beat.
‘World Of Doubt’ sounds like it could be a Beck song. Alluding to his enigmatic status over a funky and infectious bassline, Vek half-raps “no one really knows you, knows you or what you like.” His monotone delivery may not be to everybody’s taste, but his weary vocals act as a sideshow to the delicious instrumentation. ‘A.PO.L.O.G.Y.’ yet again sees Vek treading familiar but fascinating ground, with a frantic coming together of industrial sounding synths and heavy bass – a combination which Vek can now claim as his calling card.
Whereas the large majority of Leisure Seizure acts an extension to his previous work, ‘Close Mic’d’ sees Vek exploring new ideas, as he softly sings of alienation over a dark and ominous soundscape. Although this record is packed full of ideas elsewhere, the sparse tenderness on display here proves why those who fell in love with him all those years ago have remained patient for his return.
Tom Vek’s return has not been about reinventing the wheel, but sees an exciting extension of the chaotic, extraordinary ideas he displayed over half a decade ago. He remains an enigma and Leisure Seizure will be sure to cement his status as one of indie’s true visionaries. Has it been worth the wait? Of course it has.
From Craig Jones.