Album Review: Tom Levin – Them FeetJanuary 5, 2014 // by Ross Barber
Tom Levin’s fifth album Them Feet blends Swedish indie-pop, Americana and even hip hop to create a record which is compelling, accessible and varied. Sweden’s pop music is famous across the world (yes, thank you, ABBA!) and the indie-pop scene there is arguably one of the best in the world. Evidently some of this pop sensibility has rubbed off on Levin, as he’s written an album full of indie-pop gems, which pull influences from many other genres, combining them brilliantly.
Them Feet is an incredibly interesting listen; Levin’s delivery is full of soul and passion, and when combined with his driving percussion-laden arrangements, layered harmonies and catchy melodies, there are no weaknesses on show. Levin has used instruments in unconventional ways, which is truly refreshing to hear.
Opening with the title track, “Them Feet,” we instantly understand what to expect on the album; it’s very rhythmic, a little dark and inspired. Levin’s soulful delivery is genuine and raw and particularly towards the end of the track becomes impassioned and powerful.
“I Raise My Flag” opens with a synthesized bass, and is just one shining example of Levin’s creativity and willingness to experiment with unusual arrangements and instrumentation. Again, Levin’s vocals stand out, and the background vocals are very effective here. This is definitely one of Them Feet‘s highlights.
“Pull Yourself Together” is another excellent track. Again, a strong percussive beat is the driving force, with some rich harmonies providing further ear candy. Them Feet is a record that seems to just get better and better with each track – it’s hard to find anything bad to say about it.
“As Long As It’s Good” has some of the best lyrics on the album. Unapologetic and bold, Levin touches on risky subjects such as politics and religion, and delivers his thoughts in another excellent performance:
“People on the left and people on the right,
Political views in black and white,
We’re blinded, blinded by it all,
Preachers, teachers get in the way,
But we’ve got to learn from our own mistakes,
Keep trying even when you fall”
“Once I Almost Killed A Horse” is heartfelt and very moving and shows Levin’s storytelling abilities perfectly. However, stylistically it sounds a little out of place here. Yet this doesn’t take away from the track itself, which is very well written and performed (as we’ve come to expect of Levin at this point).
All in all, Them Feet is an incredibly accomplished record which successfully blends a varied range of styles and influences to create something quite special. Levin deserves a commercial breakthrough based on the quality of Them Feet. An undeniable talent – don’t miss this.