Tom Vek: Leisure Seizure

Tom Vek‘s 2005 debut album, We Have Sound, was lost among a sea of post-punk dance acts like Death From Above 1979 and Bloc Party, both of whom put out much better debut albums around the same time. Since 2005, Tom Vek has been a ghost, not releasing an album or single for six years. Instead he spent those six years setting up his own studio and presumably working on his follow up album. So the real question going into his sophomore album, Leisure Seizure was, was the time off worth it?

Early dividends say yes. While his debut album showed influences of Gang of Four and Talking Heads, Leisure Seizure shows a more modern side of the London-based one man band. Vek’s voice is reminiscent of Brandon Flowers but a tad deeper. The album opens with “Hold Your Hand” which features Vek singing over a keyboard. Vek sings in a deadpan voice “I am a lost cowboy/waiting for the truth/that’s written on the wall/yeah.” Then the drums kick in. If the drums were a four-on-the-floor dance beat, Leisure Seizure could easily seem like a standard DFA Records release. Instead the drums are somewhere between Hella and Minus the Bear. The complex drumming makes the music much harder to dance to but a much more compelling listen. Vek’s voice never does gain any type of emotion. His deliver is often dry and monotone but with enough sass to make it seem almost punk (like a male version of The Waitresses). But because his delivery is so dry, the drums are a perfect compliment.

The only track that deviates from this formula is “Close Mic’ed.” The minimalist drums and wispy keyboards sound like something Boi-1da would produce for Drake. Vek even makes his voice seem a less sassy and a little more sincere for the track. Because of how different the track sounds in comparison to the rest of the album, “Close Mic’ed” ends up being one of the highlights for me.

The album does not have a whole lot of lowlights. Some of the songs could have stronger hooks but that is not really what Vek is going for. Maybe the lack of top 40 quality hooks is what makes Leisure Seizure seem so appealing. The album operates in its own space and that makes it feel like a breath of fresh air.

Rating: 8.6/10

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