Deciding to go MIA when you’ve just made it big on the indie-music scene is like turning down a winning lottery ticket; it might make you more pure, but it sure won’t make you any richer. You can be certain that Tom Vek’s soul is squeaky clean, then, as he returns from his five year haitus with the debut of his second album “Leizure Seizure.” Most of his siesta has been spent creating this latest installment.
Much of the record is essentially the musical equivalent of a glow stick. It soars with a pure neon energy that is enhanced, rather than weighed down, by his harsh voice. In Close Mic’ed, the lyrics and music even seem like two different songs compiled together. This puts the two parts at odds with one another in a really intoxicating way, as if your ears are treading on gravelly sand. Both his voice and his increasingly desperate electronic back-ups threaten to fall off the edge completely, and that tension makes for a compelling listening experience.
Sometimes Vek’s unapologetic talk-singing can get grating, a tendency that is exacerbated by his penchant for repeating licks as his buffet of background instruments pile-up. This technique yields varying degrees of success. “You have an unfair advantage”, of “Too Bad,” works, perhaps because of his truly excellent musical sneer, while the progression of “Someone Loves You” seems as one-dimensional as its lyrics.
Vek’s music is at its best when he uses his sharp beats and no-nonsense narration to express his musical irreverence. “Shut-up-and-let-me-play-my-multiple-self-taught-instruments” seems to be the underlying lick; a sentiment which both silences this music critic and produces a stunningly creative, unyielding piece of artwork.
Appropriately enough, sci-fi laser noises announce the finale track “Too Bad,” and with it, songwriter and multi-instrument artist Tom Vek’s much welcomed touch-down back on the planet Earth. After a five year haitus into the dreaded black abyss of first-album indie-elite artists, Vek has finally returned from outer space. It seems like he is primed for another successful invasion.