|War, Peace and Diplomacy|
Tom Hickox — War, Peace and Diplomacy
Δ Mnohem víc než jen nádherné kompozice. Jsou to lidé a místa a osobnosti. Obrazy, pocity a emoce. Je to diferencovaný zpěv, poutavé snímky skryté v jeho textech a slovech. Dostáváme se do stejných výšek, v jakých létá orel nebo albatros, klouzající ve sboru, v seřazení do letky. © Tom Hickox on the London Eye
Δ 9 skladeb napsal Tom Hickox s koprodukcí Colina Elliota v Yellow Arch Studios v Sheffieldu. Doprovodná kapela ke všem devíti písním byla "vypůjčena" (Richard Hawley), zatímco Hawley sám hraje na slide kytaru v "Out of the Warzone".
Δ "White Roses Red" je nejsilnější skladba na albu s velmi dobrým využitím sitar. "White Roses Red" oplývá dramatickými akordy a příhodně vypráví svůj příběh skrze symboliku květin: lilie (což představuje plodnost), bílou růži (nevinnost a čistotu), červenou růži (vášeň a ohnivou lásku). Ženská ztráta panenství snad? Nebo možná ne, ale Tom na albu působí cíleně, aby posluchač dospěl k vlastnímu výkladu této písně.
Δ Prostřednictvím "Války, míru a diplomacie", Tom Hickox připravil svůj vlastní jedinečný způsob hudebního vyjádření s pevným místem ve 21. století — hudbu, podobnou Scottu Walkerovi, nebo od Toma Waitse či Leonarda Cohena. Toto album je opravdu velkým úspěchem.
Δ Tom Hickox is a singer-songwriter from North London. He is the son of Richard Hickox CBE, one of Britain's most renowned conductors and Grammy Award winner with over 280 recordings to his credit. His mother was an orchestral timpanist.
Born in 1981
Location: Camden, North London, UK
Album release: 10 March 2014
Record Label: Fierce Panda
01 The Angel of the North 4:01
02 The Pretty Pride of Russia 3:43
03 Out of the Warzone 3:32
04 Your Baby Was Asleep 3:32
05 White Roses Red 4:32
06 Let Me Be Your Lover 4:09
07 A Normal Boy 6:12
08 The Lisbon Maru 3:27
09 Good Night 5:07
℗ 2013 Fierce Panda
Δ Comparisons of Hickox's music have been made to such masters as Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Scott Walker and even Randy Newman. The Daily Telegraph have already been won over by “depth and intensity” of his voice and music calling him “a true original”. The Sunday Times described Tom arriving on the music scene “as if from a different planet, and certainly from a different age.” Fuse magazine swooned over his “outrageously daring lyrics” and the “deathly beauty” of his arrangements.
By Shane Kimberlin | posted on 10 Mar 2014 | Score: ****½
Δ Tom Hickox’s lyrical qualities have been compared to those of Leonard Cohen, and for good reason: both artists can conjure an image, upend a cliché, and turn the oft-lowly perceived realm of lyrics into poetry. One difference is Hickox’s material leans more topical and political, but for an album named War Peace And Diplomacy, there’s scarce preaching, only nuanced songs full of poetic imagery with lush instrumental backing.
Δ The music style makes biographical sense: Hickox’s late father was conductor Richard Hickox, Commander of the British Empire and man of excellent taste. It seems the apple fell very little distance, for much of Hickox’s music draws inspiration from a pre-rock era; film scores, Bing Crosby-murmured ballads, and those beautiful wartime songs like We’ll Meet Again. There are modern touches, however, with production that recalls later Brian Eno, and echoes of country, Britpop, and every other genre that can pluck the heart strings. Rest assured, they will be plucked.
Δ Let Me Be Your Lover is a song which features lines every love-stricken human being wishes they could pen, if only to tell their love these lines: “Let us share a tombstone in a graveyard by the sea/ then let us hear the crushing in immortality/ let me be your lover, let me be your friend/ let me be beside you whenever it’s the… end.” Muted horns moan in the background with the orchestra, a great swell of sadness moving around the listener. The Pretty Bride Of Russia has Hickox singing from the perspective of a young girl looking to go to London: “I’ll learn to act and sing and make my father proud.” A small orchestra moves the emotion along, undertowing that voice.
Δ To describe Hickox’s voice is an exercise in image comparison. Utterly unique, it fluctuates, croaks, and croons in an unmistakable North London accent, conjuring up smoky pubs and music halls alike, as if Josh Groban has been hanging out with Tom Waits and is splitting the difference. In White Roses Red, swooping strings in minor keys move forcefully across a wall of sound while Hickox gives an intense vocal performance, all screams and utterings in the same sentence. It is here his diction, phrasing, and talent in singing really shine.
Δ In politics, Hickox wisely avoids tackling divisive topics head-on, and instead centers on the human element. No sloganeering here. A Normal Boy is a heartbreaking portrayal of a young man falling into the lure of terrorism. “I want to do what’s right/ I want to carry the fight/ ‘cause I’ve seen a light,” he repeats over and over as the music grows more chaotic, successively showing the aggression and chaos within. Out Of The Warzone describes death in vivid terms, to a tune more more appropriate for romance. This choice isn’t mere irony or satire. When he sings, “My soul is floating away out of the warzone,” no trace of detachment is found, just sweet release.
Δ As Hickox himself says, “I am a great believer in the listener finding their own way. I have failed as a writer if there’s only one interpretation of the lyrics.” For music that moves the soul, you can surely do no better. War Peace And Democracy is a masterwork, demanding repeated listens and sure to spark endless musings and study. And why not? Containing both sobriety and humour, beauty and the grave, Tom Hickox has created a modern classic, a must-have for all those who wish to feel. Fortaken: http://www.musicomh.com/ © Chris Saunders, Photographer:
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Δ There are many things that set north London singer-songwriter Tom Hickox apart from most musicians you will be familiar with today. Be it his sense of style — the three-piece suits that demand grandeur and respect for a time long since passed; the serious and brooding air that accompanies Tom throughout his live performances; or perhaps it's the way Tom's nine-track debut album 'War, Peace and Diplomacy' is far more than wonderful compositions. It is people and places and personalities. It is images and feelings and emotions. It is magnificent. Album opener 'The Angel of the North' was released online as a free download last year but has been remastered for the album with added harmonium. Mournful organ chords soar and swoop alongside melancholy strings and fragile percussion as Tom's handsome, nuanced vocals evoke the poetic imagery hidden within his lyrics. Despite displaying a certain sense of foreboding, the track also portrays a sense of freedom and flight. We reach the same dizzying heights as the eagle that flies and the albatross that glides in the chorus.
'Pretty Pride of Russia' has also been up on the internet for a while and tells the tale of a wide-eyed young woman and her dream of finding riches and respect in London. Warning bells start to ring when Tom croons “A man most eager to help. He said he will find me a job; and a luxury flat. With other girls like me”. The track features sprightly piano, swelling strings full of longing, changes of tempo and dreamy, sparkly stars-in-your-eyes percussion that reflect the innocence and naivety of the song's heroine (or, is it anti-heroine, we wonder?). 'Out of the Warzone' has a wonderful country and western/blues feel, and rumour has it Richard Hawley is behind the wonderful slide guitar solo. There is a sense of release as Tom croons “my soul is floating away”. Open to interpretation, we feel this song depicts death in a very uplifting way. 'Your Baby Was Asleep' comes across as a grotesque lullaby. Tom's vocals are hushed and slightly sinister. The instrumentation is bleak and demanding. This is more of a fairy tale film score moment. 'White Roses Red' is the strongest track on the album and has a very Asian feel to it, not only because of very good use of the sitar. Urgent, powerful and emotive, the track is immediate and unnerving. As Tom bellows “You will open the lilies on your bed. Blood colour, white roses red. All my love left unsaid.” We can’t help but wonder in morbid fascination if the person is mourning their love on their deathbed.
Δ 'Let Me Be Your Love' is an honest and all-consuming love song. Piano-led with beautiful moments of brass and strings, it feels like the clock is ticking and time is running out as Tom croons, “Let us share a tombstone in a graveyard by the sea. Then let us hear the crashing waves in immortality. Let me be your lover. Let me be your friend. Let me be beside you whenever it’s the end”. Then there's the final three: 'A Normal Boy' which journeys through the eyes of a normal middle-classed boy's transition into embracing Allah and Jihadism. Fast-paced and powerful, the track builds to a fiery, breathtaking climax; 'The Lisbon Maru' embraces the country feel again, and is inspired by the real-life sinking of a Japanese freighter of that name. The album fades out with 'Goodnight', a gloomy, anthemic, victorious ending to a truly majestic album. Through 'War, Peace and Diplomacy', Tom Hickox has paved his own unique way of musical expression which has a solid place in 21st century music whilst still giving a nods of familiarity towards the likes of Scott Walker, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. This album is a success.
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Δ There is no denying Tom Hickox's musical pedigree — after all he is the son of the late Richard Hickox CBE, one of Britain's most renowned classical conductors.
So it soon becomes clear where his love for swelling strings and grandiose soundtracks comes from.
Δ Except Tom rejected classical music (“I knew as a kid I didn’t want to compete with my dad”), instead he embarked upon on his own journey via Beckett, Pinter and rock 'n' roll.
Δ Now Tom, who has had comparisons with Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave, follows up his debut single, The Angel of the North, with the release of his debut album, War, Peace and Diplomacy.
Δ The album’s nine tracks were written by Tom Hickox with co-production from Colin Elliot at Yellow Arch Studios in Sheffield. The backing band on all tracks were "borrowed" from Richard Hawley whilst Hawley himself plays slide guitar on Out of the Warzone.
Δ Across its nine songs, War, Peace and Diplomacy sketches pictures of a forgotten war hero of The Lisbon Maru, a naïve young woman at the mercy of an acquisitive world in The Pretty Pride of Russia, a seemingly loving relationship with a dark undertow in Good Night and the lost soul at the heart of A Normal Boy.
Words: Andy Runacres; Score: 8/10
Chris Saunders, Photographer:
|War, Peace and Diplomacy|