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Tom Hickox - War, Peace and Diplomacy (Review)

Tom Hickox, War, Peace and Diplomacy

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

TOM Hickox may be something of an acquired taste but he’s never less than intriguing.

His debut album War, Peace and Diplomacy is an unashamedly serious album.

Across its nine songs the album sketches pictures of a forgotten war hero of The Lisbon Maru, a naïve young woman at the mercy of an acquisitive world in The Pretty Pride of Russia, a seemingly loving relationship with a dark undertow in Good Night and the lost soul at the heart of A Normal Boy.

Indeed, the latter track is Hickox at its most provocative… his lost soul could just as easily be a terrorist as he is a soldier defending a country, issuing lines like: “I wanna do what’s right, I wanna carry the fight” complete with nods to Allah. It’s thought-provoking, gutsy stuff and fiercely attention-grabbing. But it doesn’t qualify as easy listening.

That’s not to say Hickox isn’t capable of crowd-pleasing moments. Out of the Warzone, for instance, is augmented by a rousing slide guitar solo from long-term inspiration Richard Hawley, while The Lisbon Maru has a epic quality about it lyrically and instrumentally, creating a cinematic backdrop to heighten the storytelling nature of its words. Again, Hickox succeeds in grabbing your attention.

His vocals, meanwhile, have a gruff quality that marks him out as distinctive. And while they may sometimes get in the way of the melodies and underline the album’s seriousness… you can’t help but feel they also lend weight to the themes at play.

Hence, Hickox’s debut has to rate as a success that rewards patient listening, while setting himself up as a distinct new British singer-songwriter to watch.

Download picks: Let Me Be Your Lover, A Normal Boy, Out of the Warzone, The Lisbon Maru

Track listing:

  1. The Angel of the North
  2. The Pretty Pride of Russia
  3. Out of the Warzone
  4. Your Baby Was Asleep
  5. White Roses Red
  6. Let Me Be Your Lover
  7. A Normal Boy
  8. The Lisbon Maru
  9. Good Night