Thom Bowden

Thom Bowden and his band have recently started to receive quite a bit of attention and airplay from several radio stations, including Radio 1 and XFM, among others. And there’s a good reason for all this positive press too, as Thom Bowden makes the kind of scuzzy, authentic raw rock that everyone can enjoy: from the more broad minded metal fans out there to the hipster-indie kids who just have to discover the new big thing before everyone else. The trouble is, scuzzy, authentic raw rock is not exactly an underpopulated genre in today’s British music scene. Hundreds of bands who play in that style serenade festivals all over the UK every summer.

Thom Bowden

At this point, it’s not enough just to be good, one must also be different, and that is the challenge Mr Bowden finds himself facing with the release of his debut album, “Searching The Brittle Light”. So, is he up to the challenge? Well, personally, my answer to that would have to be a conflicted one. Certainly the album gets off to a rip-roaring start with opener “Click!”, which comes screaming out the gate with a riff that resembles the bastard offspring of The White Stripes and The Arctic Monkeys. This is, for anybody who may be in any doubt, a very good thing! Combine that riff with vocals that swing wildly from quiet sneers to full on emotion fuelled howls and you have the recipe for a genius rock song that manages to hit the sweet spot of being authentic, but never pretentious. Following up is “So So Long”, a more swaggering, strutting number, but another solid rock banger nonetheless. And then something odd happens. All that momentum that has been built up simply dissipates as we are treated to a somewhat anaemic acoustic indie track. Not that “My Arms” isn’t a pretty song, it is. But where was that quintessentially rock swagger that stood out from the crowd? It’s nowhere to be seen once the acoustic guitars come out, that’s for sure.

This is a pattern that repeats itself throughout “Searching for The Brittle Light”, there’ll be some lovely, original, driving rock numbers and then, all of a sudden, an acoustic track will pop up and kill the momentum of the album stone dead. These tracks are often very nice, but they simply sound jarring after such high impact garage rock.

So, in conclusion, it seems that Thom Bowden and his band have the necessary raw materials to become a very respected rock outfit, their debut album provides a promising start, let down a little by some less than stellar track choices. My advice, for anyone who might be interested, is simple: put out an album full of those absolutely stonking, driving, old-school rock tracks and save the acoustic tracks for a separate EP of their own, where their more fragile beauty can shine on its own terms. All in all though, Thom Bowden’s debut album is a very promising effort.

Track Listing
So So Long
My Arms
How About It-

With Pace
The Water Is Cold
In The Ground
Sweet And Tender


Words By Elinor Day.