Album Review: Tom Misch – Geography

Tom Misch - Geography Artwork

South-London Jazz songwriter Tom Misch’s debut album, Geography is a remarkable success. Starting out at 16 as a bedroom producer Tom began by self- releasing EP’s through SoundCloud and Bandcamp in 2011. His eclectic musical repertoire and largely self-produced music proves popular with the young crowds, making him one of the UK’s top independent producers at 21. 

Geography is one of those rare albums that is difficult to categorise into a stylistic genre. There is a massive sense of breadth as it’s clear his approach to music is multi-layering, combining a mix of jazz, low key funk and hip hop. There is also elements of neo-soul inspiration heard throughout. 

‘Lost in Paris’ is a good example of this. Despite the romantic inclination this song was actually inspired by an unfortunate incident in which Misch lost his hard drive in a Paris hotel. Agile jazz fretwork meet his dreamy vocals, showcasing what the talented young artist can do. 

The same jazz guitar inflections heard throughout ‘Lost in Paris’ reappear throughout, such as in ‘Disco Yes’ and ‘It Runs Through Me’. This is the slight issue with the album in that it lacks adventure as songs start to sound all too similar. However, it is easy to offset that Misch is only 21 with his musical maturity and expertise. Geography is therefore exciting as it gives us a sense of what could come next, paving the way for his future music and growth as an artist. Whilst making the album he described how he felt “like I’m still at the stage where I have to kind of prove before I can just make what I really want to make.” The most striking songs of the album could be an indication of what could come next 

Skilful sophisticated layering is further apparent in the rest of the album. ‘South of the River’ follows with an up-beat feel good track with jazzy violin infusions. Whilst the ballad ‘Movie’ teams up with the smooth vocals of Tom’s own sister, Polly Misch to set the musical landscape for the replay of the songwriters heartbreak. This track is especially chilled and easy to listen to, providing a good contrast from the rest of the album. 

Guest star Loyle Carner contributes to ‘Water Baby’ proving to be a dream team with Misch in this effortlessly cool track. Laid-back piano melodies and upbeat brass bursts provide a musical backdrop for Carner who gives the song an honest edge with his political verse, “I’m tryna tell ’em I’d only say it if I can feel it / ‘Cause money’s tight, maybe tighter than it was before / I’m helping out on a mortgage I really can’t afford.”

 

First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org


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