I really love Tom Williams & The Boat. After finding out about them last year, every time I look them up again they’ve done something to make me smile. They release songs for free, they send me personal emails, they support brilliant bands (I’ve missed them supporting Good Shoes and Laura Marling, which is a real kick in the teeth), they seem, through the misty veil of internet correspondence and Myspace, like genuinely nice people. Oh and they release bloody good music.
For the uninitiated, the band are a Tunbridge Wells-based six piece band with knack for producing folk-tinged pop gems. They’ve developed a big ol’ high-profile fanbase, with Huw Stephens and the ever-awesome Steve Lamacq firmly behind them. And that all leads us to this point, with the release of new single “90mph”.
An upbeat intro kicks us off (aided with Blues Brothers-style saxophone which will always make me happy) which leads into a song as fast-paced as the title suggests. This is the hookiest and most immediately sing-along-able song the band have produced yet, and it really shows off their range, especially when compared to my personal favourite track “Wouldn’t Women Be Sweet” (see here for details of that little beauty).
But I have to say, as good as the single is, the album taster that’s been sent out with it, “Too Slow” is my favourite of the two. It’s been very much the trend to have darker laments of late (White Lies anyone?), so to have a song that starts off utterly destitute and slowly adheres to its own lyrics, “slow things are picking up”, and become a white hot explosion of loveliness and joy may not be fashionable, but works brilliantly. The buildup of instruments alongside Tom’s gradually more and more howled vocals to reach a crescendo that immediately reminded me of the peak of Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane” is wonderful, and I simply couldn’t fault it.
If there’s any band in Britain more deserving of acclaim than these guys, even if you take away all the good music and simply admire them for their sheer niceness, I have yet to find them, and I don’t think I will. Good on you Tom Williams and your wondrous boat, you’re brilliant.