Hell YES, local group Tomten's full length, Wednesday's Children, comes out today!!!
Right, so I wrote a bunch a couple months back, reviewing Tomten's Ta Ta Dana EP. That record was my first exposure to the group. Uh, it really did only take one spin of their track "So So So" to get me so-so-so hooked. Seriously, with that song I was STOKED...on a NEW group no less!! But, I instantly got their angle, they sounded fresh and fragile while obviously knowing about everything OLD!!!
Tomten...seem to favor creating an atmosphere of reverence; it's like they've written hymns. Not sacred hymns, but hushed pop hymns, slightly flecked with lysergic glints of radiance. Well, at least it feels that way. It could be the reverb, but I reckon it's their strictly focused writing/playing as filtered through the pop side of '60s Merseybeat/beat and mid-/late-era Velvet Underground. A mix which is easily the premise for a shit ton of indie AND post-indie bands, has been since the mid-'90s, OBVIOUSLY, but Tomten don't rely on '80s born/'90s popularized recycled/cliché indie riffs. It's obvious they're in the know about '60s playing; they're economical and reserved, but are not clouded by the contemporary aural misconceptions of the psychedelic '60s. Their knowingness is then mated to open, crisp, contemporary production, giving them a strong '80s paisley pop sound. It just all FITS.
Yup, just like the Ta Ta Dana EP, Wednesday's Children is in a paisley pop pocket, sometimes slightly nodding into the pop-est of the paisley, but still maintains their sense of reverence. Godamn, all the songs are washed in dreamy. Uh-huh, it's with that SOUND the tracks float well together, start to finish. The LP affords the band room to expand, and there is a LOT of variety here, but Wednesday's Children's track sequencing and production holds it all together tightly. Currently, I'm held sway by the first side of the LP.* Uh, I swear I won't be getting over "Anyone's Guess" anytime soon. It's well sandwiched on the LP, between the dynamic title track "Wednesday's Children" and the folky "Lofty." "Anyone's Guess" is my summer jam. I should say, WILL BE my summer jam, if and when we ever get a fucking summer. Anyways, on first few listens there is a strong presence of one singular influence, perhaps, Ray Davies. An easy take away tho,' Davies is hard to hide. However, it's not too weighty as the group have a deep knowing of period songwriting/craft obviously via Bill Fay, the Velvet's, Gandalf, and the coy playfulness of Mr. Cliff Ward...and that's the short list!
To me Tomten are about '60s songwriting from the pop/folk tradition which wasn't so much experimental, jammin', or based off primal black music, like the REST of '60s rock. They're a great contemporary group who are smart enough to ball up a bit of the past and present it as part of NOW without conceding to recent rock baggage. Of course, from what I can tell they have no hope to MAKE themselves "relevant" so it's not a stretch to get bogged down like most of their peers. Again, well done, y'all.
* YEAH!! The LP. Two sides, both work as "pieces." I dunno who mastered the record, but it sounds great through my HUGE 100 watts speakers.