Teenage Blood - Tom Williams and the Boat Album Review
Within sixty seconds of the opening title-track, I'm reminded of Broken Records, The Waterboys and Shearwater, three exponents of folk-rock who seem set to be joined by Kent-based Williams and his charges. "Teenage Blood" is the band's second full-length set and marks a transition from spunky young pups to grown-up musicians and story-tellers. Not that they've been biding their time donning hoodies and sulking their way through slots at Glastonbury and Latitude - Williams, who sounds a modicum like Chris Martin in places, has been honing his craft, while his band-mates have clearly been busy taking their time learning some tricks of the trade.
Their two recent singles are included here, with "My Bones" winning through by a considerable margin and causing me to wonder how this fine track slipped through the playlist net. But there's better - much better - included here. "Trouble With The Truth" is a hard-bitten ballad with a nagging hook and passionate vocal, "Too Young" is easily a strong case for a third single and "There's a Stranger" is a break-up song fit for a right old blub.
But, wherever there are truly gold-star moments, there are a few songs that drag a little - "Neckbrace" and "Like You" didn't do anything for me at all - but the closing pair of "Summer Drive" and "Emily" prove to be serviceable and hopeful enough to head for the 'repeat' button. In fact, most of this album is assured and radiant enough to warrant your attention post haste, even if none of it will save the world or change lives. But sometimes, all you need is a reassuringly good songwriter like Tom Williams.