Coming off the back of two E.P.’s The Lion and the Wolf’s, a.k.a. Isle of Wight based singer songwriter Thomas George, debut album was recorded between November 2013 and August 2014 in his hometown of Ventnor on the said Isle. His labour of love, non-rushed approach has produced a sumptuous, genteel, modern day folk singer songwriter sound.
There is a deceptive start to proceedings as the Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Mrs Robinson’-esque ‘Bandages’ feel good nature, quickly transforms to more thought provoking reflections on themes of painstaking love, loss, and homesickness.
The haunting ‘Ghosts on Trinity’ with stark electric guitar and church organ resonates feelings of deep life changing loss. The fact the organ was recorded in the church George’s grandfather’s funeral was held adds to its personal emotional weightiness.
The beautiful and fragile ‘Colours’ has George’s tender vocals produce a heart-melting chorus. The catchy ‘Hand of Applause’, ‘Ink and Skin’, the deeply humane title track, and the wintry ‘November Saints’ feel of fragile vulnerability, ‘Comfort Me When I’m Feeling Out of Place and Barely Breathe’, are the standout highlights.
Throughout proceedings George carefully picks piano, organ, percussion, acoustic guitar picking and strumming, occasional electric guitar, and even sitar when the songs require them. This attention to detail in his songs evokes a more intimate sounding Mull Historical Society, and Elbow at their most introspective and poignant. The best of the album’s songs downbeat atmospherics would nestle quite neatly on Guy Garvey’s 6 Music show on Sunday afternoons.
As the album progresses another up beat song would have been welcomed to reduce the moroseness caused by the album’s overall evocative profound atmosphere. However, there is no denying the versatile song writing talents of Thomas George, and he is an emerging artist to keep a close eye on.