Some of you will already be familiar with Tom McConnell’s work through his previous psychedelic pop project TV ME, well he’s back with a new coat of many audio colours and it is glorious. Like Viv Stanshall meets Paul McCartney with a side dose of Pugwash and a smattering of ELO, Novelty Island is a warmly melodic and surreal trip into the lush valley of irreverent pop.According to McConnell, ‘Suddenly On Sea tells the story of the summer holiday no one can have this year. So buckle up and enjoy the ride cos this is the closet you’ll probably get to sand-filled sandwiches and sunburn.
Gently undulating in a sheen of 60’s psychedelia, dream pop and wistful melodicism, every track on Suddenly On Sea brims with invention and humor. McConnell‘s creativity, originality and ear for a catchy hook graces the EP through its five track run:
Jaunty View opens with a beautifully immersive and shimmering palette of sounds and moods, kept lo-fi and intimate, it aches with nostalgia. Francesca Relax evokes 10cc’s 1975 album The Original Soundtrack, and billows in fog shrouded atmosphere. The Desperately Strange tells the tale of British beach holidays, conjuring images of Wurlitzers, end-of-pier entertainment and the inevitable rain, plus a quite amazing video where McConnell visits several well-known drinking establishments.
Thoughts of Fish Quay kicks it up a bit with the heralding horns and driving bass as things start to tumble to an end. The title track closes out a wonderful EP and I guarantee you will be clicking replay.
Throughout Suddenly On Sea, melody and structure thrive alongside harmonious backing vocals and the winsome, dreamy quality of McConnell’s sweet pop and his skill of composing catchy, witty and surreal songs lends this release a whole boat-load of charm. I defy anyone to listen to Suddenly On Sea without a big, daft smile plastered on their stupid face.
Tom McConnell is the master of lush and beguiling pop. The songs he crafts are so catchy, so warmly immersive that they stay with you, living in that happy part of your brain that renders colors brighter, sounds sweeter and life just that little bit more enjoyable. McConnell doesn’t so much as invite you on his kaleidoscopic journey but grab you by the hand, haul you along, laughing, glowing and spiraling in a fine mist of neon-glitter. It’s an intoxicating and heady mix of sound and vision that leaves you grinning and light-headed. The world needs Novelty Island more now than ever.
Suddenly On Sea is out August 21 st and is available from Novelty Island’s Bandcamp page.