Singer/songwriter Tom Abbott takes charge with his great indie rock and anti-folk sound. Abbott is backed by a full band and includes Gin Ruzhanksy (bass/vocals), Avery Logan (drums), Stuart Rverse (piano), Matthew Shifrin (accordion), Lucy Little (violin), Cate Byrne (violin), Lysander Jaffee (viola), Giulia Haible (cello), Paul Ahlstrand (saxophone/clarinet), Daniel Rosenthal (trumpet/flugelhorn) and Joe Stewart (trombone). With raspy vocals and a lush orchestral accompaniment, Abbott’s rush of sound truly delivers. The Boston-based artist has produced three full-length albums and it is here in his latest album In The Dust that we truly see Abbott settling into his groove as an artist and owning his sound.
In The Dust gets going with the title track “In The Dust,” where some guitar and wind instruments come in for a faded and fuzzy sound. Abbott’s voice sounded like it was sung far from the mic. The recording is swimming deep in reverb. Next, the strumming of guitar, clarinet and piano comes in on “Something I’ve Been Thinking About.” Abbott’s vocals come across feeling warm and reverberating. The accompaniment on piano feels like a strong highlight. The trombone and trumpet made for another great addition. On “Fork In The Road,” once Abbott’s vocals came in, I was feeling some great pop-based flavors. Gradually, a piano tune joins in on the vibe.
More acoustic guitar renderings come through on “Vivian Girl.” Next, the moodiness of this song comes across for a punk and grungy approach to the music. I enjoyed this heavier vibe which reminded me of Nirvana but with horns. More acoustic guitar orchestrations sound out on “Gone.” I could hear the longing and regret in the vocals as the strings arrived. Some energized guitars and piano come rushing at you on “Armageddon.” The sound is very feel-good and uplifting for a track about the end of the world. This was a song packed to the brim with fast-paced vocals and driven piano melodies.
Noodling on the guitar greets the start of “Cold In There.” Next, a very country-bent sound comes across on this recording. The vocals sound very spoken word, like they were separate from the music. But this changes up toward the fully charged chorus where Abbott belts it out with a heavy Americana twang. Right from the get-go, Abbott’s vocals and the music comes in with little to no hesitation on “Leech (The Perfect Song).” Abbott really embraces a startling energy here. I was immediately feeling the pop vibes. Turning back to his more acoustic-based sound, the guitar alone comes in on the start of “Full Of It” as Abbott’s somber vocals accompany it. The vibe feels very moody as some cello and violin adds to the yearning vibes. I thought this was a great way to send-off listeners with this slow but burning closer.
According to Abbott, “In The Dust peeks into the mindset of a fresh college grad thrown head-first into 2020’s COVID-infected world.” Like pretty much everyone else, for the past year, Abbott has been dealing with a lot of things including confusion and self-doubt. Like his album art, the ten-track collection is an amalgamation of Abbott’s thoughts: cluttered yet experienced all at once. At once disorderly and chaotic, these tracks show us an artist driven to give us his brand of indie rock, alt and anti-folk heart and soul. This was a solid album and I look forward to hearing more from this artist.
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