Tom Williams and the Boat premiered new single, ‘Hurricane’, yesterday evening on Steve Lamacq’s 6Music show. It will be released on 25th March 2014, with third album ‘Easy Fantastic’ out 19th May 2014. The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios with the Ian Grimble on production duty.
Even a cursory listen to the third album by Tom Williams & The Boat reveals that this is a band dramatically waking up to new possibilities: a band surveying the good things that came to them with 2012’s Teenage Blood album – the strong BBC 6 Music support; their growing reputation as an incendiary festival act – and allowing their self-belief to grow a little stronger.
It’s a change audible within a few bars of the opening song, and lead single, ‘Hurricane’. Like much of what follows, this jut-jawed love song sees Williams circumvent sentimentality for the elemental vernacular of great rock’n’roll.
Williams explains, “It was the first track that we had done that seemed to encapsulate everything we wanted the new record to be. Riff heavy, great groove and a subterranean approach to lyric writing that we felt was important as an antidote to the introverted self-obsession of the last record. The riff reminded us of early Led Zep, and with the Hammond organ on the chorus, the song introduces a new sound and classic feel for the band.”
If there’s a sense of new creative pathways being forged on ‘Easy Fantastic’, credit must surely go to the increasing role assumed by the group’s lead guitarist Anthony Vicary. Almost a decade has elapsed since Williams first met Vicary at an acoustic club in Tunbridge Wells. Vicary, who grew up on a nearby farm, had grown up on early 90s indie-rock. “Ant was the first person to play me Bandwagonesque by Teenage Fanclub,” beams Williams, “And however many years later, I’m still obsessed by that record.” Having played with Williams throughout the early years of the band, when the singer was shuttling between Oxford (where he studied fine art) and his hometown in Kent, it’s also Vicary who lit the touch paper on some of the best new songs to bear the group’s imprint.
Abetted by the steady hand of seasoned producer Ian Grimble (Siouxsie & The Banshees, Manic Street Preachers) and his vintage Trident mixing desk (Williams: “That detail is important because, from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road to Aladdin Sane, there’s a top end you can only get from those desks”), prolonged exposure to ‘Easy Fantastic’ compounds a sense that what you’re listening to is a love letter to the records that shaped Tom Williams. Every band who has aspired to make great rock’n’roll has felt that they have a debt to repay – and Tom Williams & The Boat are no exception