Whether it’s a product of the always-on culture that consumes us or the way that culture spurs an inevitably distracted cultural focus, there is something kind of beautiful about investing in an artist from the get go and seeing them develop into the kind of artist that you’d be happy to lament, “I knew about them before they were big!” as the bandwagon enthusiasm rolls by. In a race with myriad runners and with plenty of noise in the field to cut through, it is heartwarming to back a winner every once in a while. With Tom Misch, who I first heard a little over a year ago now, I think I’ve done just that. Not counting my chickens etc. but the guy is good.
Tom Misch is a master of atmosphere. The young Londoner first made a splash with ‘The Journey’ which lent some insight into his more pensive side – all sweeping strings and guitar slides. For ‘On My Mind’, we got Misch trying out his vocals to impressive effect. Now, on ‘Sunshine’, he has moved forward again, taking the stylistic aspects of those earlier cuts and transforming them with a more traditional four-to-the-floor beat. It might seem as though Misch has sold out, inching further and further away from his unadulterated beginnings in inspired, blissed-out instrumentals, but that is a mischaracterisation. Instead, with each new release, we’ve seen the self-described composer/guitarist/singer/violin artist move closer to realising a happy compromise between his various talents.
With ‘Sunshine’, Misch is about as close to the crossover star of his potential as he has ever been. That’s thanks to that aforementioned cool house vibe, arriving courtesy of a thumping bass line and tighter electric guitar riffs than he might have constrained himself to previously. As a result, even Tom’s generally mellow vocal delivery is given a boost, more soulful across a call-and-response chorus bleeding into verses. More noticeably, the lyrics, vocals and effects applied to the latter give the song an immediately popular tinge, taking notes out of the tropical and lounge house playbooks and applying them with devastating accuracy. It is this informed appreciation of popular tricks and a fine balance between exceptional musicianship and memorable songwriting that characterise ‘Sunshine’. Misch will be massive. Mark my words.
Tom Misch – Sunshine