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Teddy Thompson - A Piece of What You Need

Teddy Thompson, A Piece of What You Need

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

TEDDY Thompson describes his fourth album, A Piece Of What You Need as one of the more upbeat collections of songs he has ever written.

It’s also an LP born out of his frustration with the state of music.

“I like it [the name] as an album title because I thought it sounded like an offering, like this record is a small bit of truth,” he explains.

“For most people, it’s gonna be an absolutely miniscule piece of what they need. But I’d like to think that I’m contributing some tiny little building block of something worthwhile, rather than just adding to the massive pile of disposable rubbish.”

Having made a sweeping statement such as this, the question was always going to be whether the music could match the claims. And while there’s nothing disposable about the album, it’s not always successful.

Ironically, it’s at its best when keeping things upbeat and it undoubtedly benefits from the presence of Marius de Vries, whose previous work with the likes of David Gray and Rufus Wainwright is occasionally reflected here.

Highlights include the upbeat former single In My Arms, which contains a chirpy hand-clap beat, a positive sense of melody, and even some “woo-hooing”. It’s also cunningly deceptive, opening with the line “not an easy place to be… in my arms.”

What’s This? also successfully showcases his guitar talents and is the closest thing to a rock song on the LP.

Opening track, The Things I Do is also a strong starting point, with some fine lyrics that are designed to make you think a little bit, while Jonathan’s Book is another breezy, even cinematic, offering that maintains the sense of positivity.

The album does become a little more ponderous when Thompson attempts to chart more serious territory – but there are still songs worth savouring.

Slippery Slope, for instance, is a haunting number that’s really well delivered and positively dripping in melancholy, while Turning The Gun On Myself is a bittersweet piano based number that really does chart the same kind of territory as the aforementioned Rufus Wainwright.

Thompson also saves the title track until last and once again raises the tempo while posing the questions that inspired the album in the first place. The stabs of brass that help draw the song to a close are a nice, even frivolous touch, that should also dispel any fears that he’s come to take himself too seriously.

And at a time when a lot of popular music is decidedly disposable, it’s nice to be able to hear an album that isn’t. So, while A Piece Of What You Need may never be essential, it’s consistently pleasant and a very good listen.

Download picks: What’s This?, In My Arms, A Piece Of What You Need, Jonathan’s Book, Slippery Slope

Track listing:

  1. Things I Do
  2. What’s This
  3. In My Arms
  4. Where To Go From Here
  5. Don’t Know What I Was Thinking
  6. Can’t Sing Straight
  7. Slippery Slope
  8. Jonathan’s Book
  9. One On Of These Days
  10. Turning The Gun On Myself
  11. Piece Of What You Need