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Tom Baxter - Skybound

Tom Baxter, Skybound

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

TOM Baxter’s sophomore album Skybound offers another endearing blend of easy listening pop that also draws on some Spanish influences.

It’s a confident collection of mid-tempo ballads that are loosely biographical, charting his journey from boy to man.

For those that don’t already know, Baxter is a singer-songwriter based in London and born in Suffolk, who grew up in Cornwall, at a time when both parents were regulars on the folk music circuit.

After moving to London at age 19 to attend music college, he spent many years on the gig circuit before a successful residency at Bush Hall in Shepherd’s Bush brought him to the attention of record labels.

He continues to attract a wide following, especially in light of the attention his most recent single, Better, got following its use on the smash hit movie, Run Fat Boy, Run, starring Simon Pegg last year.

It’s attention that appears well deserved. Baxter’s vocals are extremely strong, while his instrumentation isn’t afraid to embrace a number of styles. He’s livelier and less sappy than James Blunt, as heartfelt as Coldplay’s Chris Martin, but very much his own man in terms of style.

Highlights of this second album include title track Skybound, which boasts plenty of swirling strings, some wonderful guitar accompaniment, a sweeping chorus, and a deeply romantic sense of style, and the heavily Spanish influenced Tell Her Today, with its flamenco guitars and epic grandeur.

The latter song, in particular, shifts tempo quite dramatically – and somewhat thrillingly – at around the five minute mark to indulge in some wonderfully vibrant guitar solos and some piano that the Fania label would be proud to endorse. It’s arguably the most ambitious track on the album, but it’s also the most impressive.

Better remains a strong and passionately delivered ballad that was always tailor-made to provide the backdrop to some romantic moment in TV or film, while in contrast The Last Shot serves as a sombre and sobering ode to lost love that should become an anthem for the broken-hearted. The chorus, in particular, is really well delivered.

Icarus Wings is another track where the Spanish influence stands out to strong effect, while final track Light Me Up ensures that the album finishes with the right sort of lasting impression.

On the whole, then, Skybound is another triumph for Baxter and one that should help win him a lot more fans.

Download picks: Better, Tell Her Today, Skybound, The Last Shot, Icarus Wings

Track listing:

  1. Night Like This
  2. Skybound
  3. Better [album version]
  4. Tell Her Today
  5. Miracle
  6. Last Shot
  7. Tragic
  8. Half A Man
  9. Icarus Wings
  10. Light Me Up