Tom Vek – Leisure Seizure (Downtown)
by Cheri Amour
“I know I’m wasting precious time but I’ll take it in my stride,” were some of the last words we heard from Tom Vek in his track ‘I Ain’t Saying My Goodbyes’. The self-taught multi-instrumentalist certainly seems to have taken this refrain to heart. His hotly-tipped debut album We Have Sound was released way back in 2005 when, nestled in a veritable hub of hot kids (post-punkers The Rapture, noise duo DFA) Vek’s electro wizardry was very much en vogue. It even saw him pop up for a little cameo in the US teen series, The OC.
Six years on, amid multiple online appeals to locate him (via Facebook), Tom Vek returns with Leisure Seizure. And, with synth-tronic bloopery rife in the charts, it seems Vek’s studio centric blasts are still just as relevant today as down at The Bait Shop [Orange County, come on we’ve all watched it]. Recent single and radio favourite, ‘A Chore’, swaggers in with a nonchalance as Vek’s discordant vocals saunter through with a husky strain. Playing on such a hearty accent and monotone melodies, Vek even dabbles in a rap for ‘World of Doubt’, with its awkward and angular riffs playing out over a crisp, clattering of cymbals.
The production of Leisure Seizure, is certainly to be commended, and the whole release has been executed with a precision and clarity not seen on his debut (although this could go to explain some of his tardy time keeping and radio silence). ‘Seizmic’ is a highlight, with its retro synth stomp that’s not a far cry from the electro cool tinkering in Metronomy’s new release.
Yet like the unpredictable nature of technology itself, musicianship brilliance can be precarious, and some tracks feel a little overworked or tired. Snare happy ‘A.P.O.L.O.G.Y’, is certainly catchy with its simple approach to chorus melodies but it is hardly pushing musical boundaries, and the vocal comes across lax and despondent rather than motivational.
It is this singing style that is surely the most appealing yet off-putting instrument Vek possess. While many will pop him in the Eddie – yes-this-is-my-real-singing-voice -Argos category of charm and cool, others may find it grating and irksome. Ultimately though, Leisure Seizure sees Tom Vek return with aplomb as he is hustled back into the awkward digital geek-core and who knows? It might even get him a cameo in The Kardashians next series …