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Conrad Vingoe - Tomorrow, then (Review)

Conrad Vingoe, Tomorrow, then

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

TOMORROW, then marks the fourth album from Conrad Vingoe and is described as his most accomplished.

A folk-tinged collection of songs, this finds Vingoe working with legendary producer/engineer Phill Brown (Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, John Martyn, Bombay Bicycle Club) and embracing old fashioned values – ie, the LP was recorded live to tape in two days.

“I really wanted to make an album the old fashioned way”, says Vingoe. “And working with Phill that just fell into place.”

Hence, he achieved this by demoing on an old cassette four track – still his preferred method of working – with John Parker (Ed Sheeran, Josienne Clark) on double bass and Martyn Barker (Marianne Faithful, Billy Bragg) on drums, while keeping things disarmingly simple.

However, enjoyment of the album as a whole depends on how much you dig the singer-songwriter, acoustic driven folk-pop scene. For while there are moments of beauty here, the album sometimes ambles along a little too sedately.

The album could therefore do with more songs like the robust former single Fail, which rattles along with a really good acoustic shuffle and a greater sense of urgency than is found elsewhere. It’s comparable with classic Crowded House, which is no small compliment.

And it comes in stark contrast to more ordinary tracks like Barrier and Letters In The Night, which while certainly accomplished in folk terms, struggle to really differentiate themselves from a lot of Vingoe’s contemporaries.

Better, and more evident of Vingoe’s ability to be able to deliver even a slow-burning track to remember, are Hurricane, which drops an oh-so simple acoustic hook that disarms, and Stories, which has a warmer folk vibe and almost effortlessly charms.

But even then he overdoes the slow-burning thing with yet another stripped back offering, Little Things, when a more robust offering would have shaken things up a little more. And an attempt at something more pop-driven on Stop Dreaming sounds a little too Radio 2 focused. It’s the kind of track that might pop up on a Richard Curtis soundtrack but is far too cute.

That said, Vingoe is capable of delivering a really good song and with the album’s highlights, he remains worth checking out. He just needs to mix his sound up a little bit more.

Download picks: Fail, We Belong, Hurricane, Stories

Track listing:

  1. Hand on My Heart
  2. Fail
  3. We Belong
  4. Barrier
  5. Letters in the Night
  6. Hurricane
  7. Stories
  8. Little Things
  9. Stop Dreaming
  10. Won’t Be Tid
  11. Silence
  12. Pendulum
  13. Travelling