So yes, Tom Vek has been MIA for five years, bla bla bla… We can skip the story of his long, mysterious absence from the airwaves to get to what’s important: he’s back and still kicking butt.
His newest album, Leisure Seizure, which is already available digitally but will only get a physical release on September 13th, kept the essence of what made his first album special but polished it, making his sound more coherent. We’re far from the lo-fi vibe of We Have Sound, but that doesn’t mean Vek’s taken away what was gritty and interesting about his music; the better quality of the production actually makes all the subtleties of his arrangements shine through more distinctly.
We Have Sound played a lot with dissonance and Leisure Seizure is no different. From the electronic loops he integrates in his songs to flat tone of voice when he sings, he manages to find the right balance to make all his seemingly cacophonous elements fit together in a pleasing manner. “World of Doubt,” with its pounding drum, clashing guitar riffs and almost spoken lyrics is a perfect example of that skill.
“We Do Nothing” is like a condensed mix of all the good things from his first LP. There’s a little bit of “C-C (You Set The Fire In Me)” in it, some “Nothing But Green Lights” mixed in as well, which is a nice indicator that Vek’s taken all the years since We Have Sound listening back to the songs to synthesize the best things from his first album and build on them.
What he’s gotten really good at is creating a really hypnotizing ambient mood in his songs, no matter how slow or upbeat they are. You hear it as much in the single “A Chore” or the electronic “Close Mic’ed,” which both succeed in how repetition is used to move the song forward rather than become boring and redundant; it’s quite a feat.
All in all, Leisure Seizure is bigger and bolder than We Have Sound was. It’s more mature but it’s also more danceable. Tom Vek is definitely forgiven for having made everyone wait so long for this sophomore release.