Floating In The Darkness
Thomas Oliver’s core strength is in his Weissenborn/slide playing – and on the first track of his latest album we hear how good he is; smooth, slick and totally aping Ben Harper. It’s not to my taste. At all. But he is very good. For the rest of the album he concentrates on his role as singer/songwriter. He has something of a falsetto – and so he moves from ticking the Ben Harper box to tickling the Trinity Roots/Warren Maxwell undercarriage. It’s a sound best left a decade and a half in the past but I’m sure he has his fans and some leftover Trinity Roots/Little Bushman fans. So fair play. But Shine Like The Sun just plays out like one of Maxwell’s leftovers.
There’s very little happening on this album lyrically – the clue there was in the big single absurdly the Apra Silver Scroll winner for this year, If I Move to Mars isn’t – somehow – the worst song/lyric on this album. The Ben Harper-goes-to-Budapest campfire absurdity of Budapest is Beautiful isn’t even the worst song here. No, we also have to sit through Remember and Let It Be This One before the party-guitar Losin’ and Little One. Then we can rest at Boy. It’s ten minutes long. And tries to tell a tale – instantly unbelievable – about concocted back-story; a misguided youth, the best that Havelock North can pay for.
Thomas Oliver’s music has always been absurd. He’s tried to be a drum’n’bass junkie, a Ben Harper devotee, a Trinity Roots wannabe. There’s no accounting for taste.
A great shame. Somewhere – buried deep – there are the seeds of talent, I’m sure. But they’re not on display here. Worse than that, they’re been celebrated by an eager, dopey, braying audience. Ugly, entitled, and stupid.
I’m sure of that.
Just as they’re sure he’s wonderful.
I haven’t heard anything worse than this in years.
Which instantly makes it remarkable.
But only just.
Floating In The Darkness…Yes. That’s happened to many of us. But usually, we all just flush and walk away…We don’t release it. Well, not more than once…