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We Have Sound

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Album Review

A brash mix of indie rock and dance, Tom Vek's debut album, We Have Sound, manages to make this fusion of styles sound organic instead of opportunistic. Having explored and experimented with alt-rock in his early teens and electronica as he neared his twenties, Vek knows both styles inside out, and his incorporation of both into his own music feels completely instinctive. Vek recorded We Have Sound in his parents' garage on an old reel-to-reel recorder, and he gets a remarkably "live" feel on his recordings, especially considering that he's essentially a one-man band. The louder songs, such as album opener "C-C (You Set the Fire in Me)," sound like they were recorded in concert or at a party, creating an interesting tension with the more polished electronic atmospheres that dominate later tracks such as "On the Road." Vek has been compared to LCD Soundsystem, Beck, Bloc Party, and the Rapture, but the main similarity between him and these artists is that they're all unafraid of playing with rock and electronic idioms until they come up with their own styles. Although "The Lower the Sun" does sound a little bit like Beck attempting to make Odelay on a Stereopathetic Soul Manure budget, "I Ain't Saying My Goodbyes" puts more emphasis on the "punk" part of dance-punk than Bloc Party could. However, with lyrics like "Cover"'s "It's your Stanley knife smile cutting into me" and the elastic song structure on "A Little Word in Your Ear," Vek shows that he's a confident enough songwriter to put his own spin on these sounds. We Have Sound isn't perfect: some of the songs, like "If You Want" and "If I Had Changed My Mind," still sound unfinished and unfocused and a little too close to garage-made demos. And even though Vek mixes electronic and rock elements fluently, sometimes his application of dance's elongated, loopy feel to indie rock sounds just ends up sounding repetitive. Still, when Vek is capable of songs as good as the slow-building buzz of "Nothing But Green Lights" and the lovely, not quite folktronica ballad "That Can Be Arranged," it's easy to forgive some of We Have Sound's more awkward moments. This is a strong debut from an artist who just needs a little more focus to be brilliant.


Born: London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

London's eclectic one-man band Tom Vek combines electronic music with indie rock, punk with dance, and influences like new wave and garage (and also made most of his early recordings in his parents' garage, too). However, as a teen in the mid-'90s, Vek was inspired by grunge and began making rock along the lines of Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam; before that, he backed his guitarist father on bass and drums in their practice space/garage. When his family acquired a reel-to-reel tape recorder when...
Full bio
We Have Sound, Tom Vek
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  • €9.99
  • Genres: Alternative, Music, Electronic, Rock, Pop, Indie Rock
  • Released: 01 January 2005

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