A Little More Than Luck
Please don’t be embarrassed when you recognize this musician from an episode of The O.C. Yes, Tom Vek was in the Bait Shop performing for a pre-death Marissa Cooper in Season 3. For those of you too young to remember, The OC was a teen drama based around the lives of 26-year-olds, but that’s besides the point. If you’re not familiar with Vek’s work, then you’re most likely in for a treat. It’s a little experimental, a little weird, but not that hard to digest. His latest release, Luck, is just as unpredictable as his TV days.
The album starts off with “How Am I Meant To Know,” an opener that literally asks the question in its title. Filtered, repeated vocals are looped over and over with Vek’s never on-key, but always interesting, lead vocals on top. The whole song is actually quite jarring, but in a very satisfying way. The only slightly dissonant noises are enough to bother you in just the right places.
As a multi-instrumentalist, Vek’s ability to get awesome sounds out of both his synths and guitar benefits his albums a great deal. “Sherman (Animals in the Jungle)” starts off with blaring synth and a killer bassline. Vek’s half-singing/half-talking works because of his British accent; actually, most of his singing works because of his accent. With that point in mind, “Ton of Bricks,” oddly enough, sounds like a synth-pop Police song, with Vek’s keyboard hits reggae in nature, and his version of Sting’s world beat cadence being the star of the track.
Songs like “A Mistake” and “The Tongue Avoids the Teeth” are where Vek excels instrumentally, dynamically switching between electronic sounds and traditional instrumentation. These are also probably the weakest in terms of vocal work. Despite this, his voice seems to fall into place at just the right moment.
Luck is the type of album you listen to when you’re actively trying to listen. If you leave it on in the background or while driving, you’ll definitely miss a lot of its charm. Surprisingly, Vek hasn’t released much music in the past nine years, but each album leaves a pleasant, albeit different taste in our mouths.