#1 Dads is the solo project from Tom Lansek. His recent album About Face has all the right ingredients that make it something that you will listen to on repeat. This is at its heart a pop album but at the same time has enough variation and unpredictability that it feels original. I'm reminded of Broken Social Scene not so much in that they have a similar sound but that when they first hit the scene they brought you songs that made you want to sing a long again yet felt refreshing amongst Top 40 pop . This may be a solo album but it hardly feels like one. The songs are distinct in a number of ways but also benefit from some featured guests who bring a lot to the plate.
The first track “My Rush” is a great opener. It’s rooted in lo-fi production that enhances the song rather than adversely affecting it. A jangly guitar and muffled drumbeat provide the canvas for Lansek to sing on. During the verse his voice is stoic and basically monotone. I know that doesn't sound good but his voice fits around the music like a glove. It works even more in context of the song because when the chorus comes he belts it out.
The second song “So Soldier (feat. Aiinslie Wills)” may the best track on the album. It has such a slick vibe and the vocal performance by Ainslie Wills is on point. I loved her confident, powerful voice, which carried the song. Lansek brings it again with “Camberwell.” He barely strains his voice as he delivers his lines. Lansek’s relaxed, calm tone is infectious as he makes you feel the same. Don’t cut this song short, as you will miss a silk and sultry sax solo.
As the album progresses I can say there were no duds but the last two songs are exceptional. Both “God Can Promise (with Airling) and “Homeward Found” are emotionally resonant songs with inspired vocal performances.
About Face is an album that I could see gaining a lot of traction and popularity just by word of mouth. It will undoubtedly resonant with hipsters but can also appeal to a much larger demographic. Listen to this album; you will be glad you did.
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