When indie goes pop it rarely does it with bang. Most attempts sound like fireworks that have spent far too much time wafting in PBR and self-driven insecurities to truly explode. It’s usually more of a poof than a pop. But when indie pop finds a way to grasp the more stripped-down lo-fi elements of pop music and incorporate forward thinking, bands such as Stereolab and Spoon are born. Despite incorporating a touch more of an electronic influence than Spoon or even Stereolab, Tom Vek’s We Have Sound is no exception to this theory.
Originally released more than six months ago on the London-based Tummy Touch and brought to you stateside via StarTime, We Have Sound has all the fixings for a well-balanced meal: catchy lo-fi rhythms, loose drum beats and a heavy helping of witty lyrics to add some sustenance. We Have Sound is one of those albums that rarely has a down moment, and it’s all thanks to Vek’s ability to bring his diverse tracks together. The lazy guitar and surly vocals of “If I Changed My Mind” complements the lighter, electro-keyboard groove and more aggravated lyrics of “Can” and makes for a wonderful stylistic juxtaposition. But the album has a consistent, innovative indie-electronic sound, and it stems from Vek’s raw, analog drum beats.
Recorded in various sittings in London over most of 2004, elements of We Have Sound were released as Tummy Touch singles before being compiled into one full-length. While working with producer Tom Rixton, Vek found a way to mold his self-described “electro geek rock” into a completely innovative take on indie electro pop. Clever lyrics such as “Last night I had a dream about everybody here/ You were all wearing smart red tops in the opening scene/ Looking at me kinda strange ’cause I was wearing all the jeans/ Talking to each other, cigarettes you smoke have no smoke to blow” bring a fresh touch to a genre of overly emo tendencies.
We Have Sound has the right sounds to make a truly devastating bang in the world of indie pop. If only the album could give us a little more than thirty-nine minutes of fireworks, we could spend less time reaching for the repeat button and more time basking in the light of the sound Vek as created.