Tomtem, The Farewell Party
Out now, Versicolor, tomtenmusic.bandcamp.com
Like his band’s 2012 release Wednesday’s Children, Tomtem frontman Brian Noyeswatkins still holds a blazing torch for the lo-fi, psych sounds of the ’60s. But here on the band’s second full-length, with the help of studio multi-instrumentalists Lena Simon and Jake Brady, the aesthetic is pushed into the new millennium, merging Noyeswatkins’ Cockney-lite drawl (not unlike that of a young Mick Jagger) with the drone-filled reverb of artists like Cass McCombs and Papercuts, aka Jason Quever. The latter’s influence on the album is more than just coincidence; Quever recorded and produced it himself at his San Francisco home studio, and his penchant for dreamy chamber pop is unmistakable on the album’s first three tracks, “Pipe Dream Boy,” “Wayward Song,” and “Asimolar” (which could be a McCombs outtake). But things get peppier on “Thomasina,” with its perky piano intro and lush horn instrumental, recalling the music of Sondre Lerche and Sufjan Stevens—an excellent example of how The Farewell Party balances Quever’s lo-fi style with Tomten’s baroque-leaning qualities. With a liberal use of mellotron next to Noyeswatkins’ milky vocals and an unhurried approach to songwriting, it’s a distinctive and very happy marriage overall.