Tom Emlyn – Scrounger EP
1st February 2023
- Nobody Knows But Me
- A Couple Of Quid
- Checkov’s Gun
I once descibed Tom Emlyn as Swansea’s busiest musician. It was over the space of a Swansea Fringe Festival weekend. I remember he just kept popping up everywhere, acoustic guitar on his back, playing a short set here, a full set there, with this band at this venue, on the sleeve notes of this album playing guitar and on this one playing keys, outside this venue (with guitar on his back) etc, etc. He was everywhere. I remember thinking that this guy is either very talented or very cheap.
Since that weekend I can proudly say that I have witnessed Tom performing live in various guises, solo, with a full band both electric and acoustic and at several different venues and each time the performance has impressed me.
Fast Forward to 2023 and Tom is set to release his latest solo work, the “Scrounger EP”. I was very pleased when I was sent an advance copy and asked to share my thoughts on the tracks.
Tom describes the EP as “These songs have a bit of an experimental approach. I tried things like putting keyboards and guitars into my broken tape recorder and back out again. Messing around, trying drum machines and layering textures.
The end result is pretty lofi but I think that’s the charm – a raw homespun effort.”
The EP begins with the title track,”Scrounger”, this is also the first single from the EP, so some may already be familiar with it. “Scrounger reminds me a bit of R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know it (And I Feel Fine)” , but with a 60s buzz. It has elements of brilliance and is a fast paced pop/rock number that will get you moving.
“Nobody Know But Me” is a cross between The Stranglers and The Doors. I can hear Dave Greenfield’s keyboards and the wit of Jim Morrison throughout this one. It’s a very cleverly structured track that keeps with the 60s buzz, and reveals quite a bit about how good a musician Tom is. Just listen to the superb guitar playing at the one minute mark.
The biographical “A Couple Of Quid” is next. Reminding me of The Kinks or early Pink Floyd this time. One of Tom’s strengths is the ability to write mini epics with meaningful sometimes poignant lyrics and this is a prime example of this art. I love this song , there’s a story, a sadness and a realisation behind it. It’s by far my favourite track on the EP.
“Checkov’s Gun” closes the EP. Now this is a good number. Tom’s vocals remind me of Paul McCartney on this one, especially at the higher notes and the ad libs near the end. Quite a brilliant track that shows the depth of his talent.
As Tom states about the “Scroungrer EP” “The end result is pretty lofi but I think that’s the charm”, Well I can wholeheartedly agree. but must add that the songs are strong and well written, they are excellently performed and certainly shed some light on just how talented this Welsh artist is. I am amazed at how easily each track grows on you with every listen. This becomes familiarity and with this familiarity comes admiration. These songs deserve to be heard. Give “Scrounger EP” a listen and witness a truly great songwriter mastering his craft.
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