Album Review: Tom McShane


Tom McShane -‘The Ural Winter.’ (self-released)

Another singer-songwriter? Hell, no.

I first came across Tom McShane when he released a split single with another Northern Irish act, Escape Act, back in 2008. The song was called ‘Fighter.’ Whilst Escape Act put out a couple of singles through us here at 17 Seconds Records and have released two albums so far, Tom had much more of a battle.

In correspondence with me, he’s spoken about a battle with depression (something I can relate to all too well – by the way, he said he was happy for me to mention this in the review, so this is not me divulging personal and private stuff). He experienced an abortive attempt at making an album four years ago, that lead to him withdrawing from music. He went on a personal pilgrimage to the US and played some solo shows there, rekindling his love for music. In the end, this album was recorded live in one day, in front of an audience, in Belfast in 2010. As he notes on his bandcamp page ‘This wasn’t a live album per se as the audience where there to bring the special atmosphere that can only be generated by performing to a crowd. The tension was raised further by the banning of over-dubs and attempts for each song being restricted to one per session, of which there were two. ‘

And it’s brilliant. Songs like ‘Love Is Hard’ and the title are not just haunting songs, but the way they have been recorded and performed leaves you with a feeling of something very special and different. Produced by Tom with Rocky O’Reilly, the effect is that of a lo-fi Phil Spector. It’s an intimate wall of sound -and comparisons may very reasonably drawn with the likes of eagleowl and Low. And as songs like ‘One Man Band’ demonstrate, many many moments of loveliness lie within.

The birthing process leading to this album may have been hellish, but for us, the listener, this is something very special indeed.


Some more covers for Friday

Just as it says on that there tin, folks… have posted many of these before, but what the heck.

Back from holidays soon, so expect more new stuff here.

Tom McShane -‘That’s All There Is (Nina Simone cover).’ mp3

Comrade Down -‘American Trilogy (Delgados cover).’ mp3

Cat Power -‘Wonderwall (Oasis cover; John Peel session.’ mp3

Cat Power -‘We Dance (Pavement cover).’ mp3

Jesus and Mary Chain -‘Vegetable Man (Syd Barrett cover).’ mp3

Teenage Fanclub -‘Nothing To Be Done (Pastels cover).’ mp3

Sia -‘I Go To Sleep (The Kinks cover).’ mp3

Schneider TM -‘The Light 3000 (Smiths cover -originally There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.’ mp3

Propaganda -‘Sorry For Laughing (Josef K cover).’ mp3

Grace Jones -‘La Vie En Rose (Edith Piaf cover).’ mp3

Presenting…Escape Act..and Tom McShane

Escape Act are a hot new act from Northern Ireland. They are set to release their new single ‘God Says’ as a split single with fellow Northern Ireland act Tom McShane on June 23. Lat year they released an EP called Hot Air, and then went to the legendary Chem 19 studios (the legendary Chemikal Underground studios) to work with Andy Millar, who has worked with Fratellis and Sons & Daughters. This is a quality indie-rock tune for the summer. Get this on your stereo now (and obviously, go and buy the single when it comes out).

Escape Act -‘God Says.’ mp3

Escape Act -‘Green.’ mp3 (live, acoustic)

Here is the video as well:

Escape act website/ Escape Act myspace

Meanwhile, fellow Northern Irelander Tom McShane has the other side of the single with a fantastic song called ‘Fighter.’ In the press release it’s described as ‘the story of a man on the run from his ghosts and his own shadows.’ It’s a quality song, and I love the whole concept of split 7″s – there is little more ‘indie’ in the true, old sense of the word.

Tom McShane -‘Fighter.’ mp3

And here are a couple of bonus mp3s for Tom McShane as well:

Tom McShane -‘That’s All There Is (Nina Nastasia cover).’ mp3

Tom McShane -‘Promise me.’ mp3

Tom McShane website / Tom McShane mySpace

And as always, let me know what you think…