Golden Days MMXXII
Release Date: 11/15/2022
Tom Block’s latest release, Golden Days MMXXII, was released this week and it’s an eclectic mix from an equally eclectic artist. Block is based out of Bavaria, Berlin and the Canary Islands. In addition to music, Block also has a foot in the film and TV industries, being employed at the German film studio Leonine Studios and having worked for A&E Networks Germany, NBC Universal Germany, the BBC in London and Red Bull Media House in the past.
The new LP is a follow-up to 2020’s Golden Days MMXX EP, which was preceded by 2018’s The Brave Love (Liminal Records) and 2016’s Initiation (Sister 9 Recordings).
Golden Days MMXXII covers a large range of genres including electro-pop, dance, world, alternative, rock and R&B. “Setup” kicks things off with a vibe landing somewhere between The Talking Heads and Gorillaz, feeling like it could feel right at home in 1982 or 2002 or 2022. “Golden Days” follows and immediately reinforces the Gorillaz references picked up on earlier. “My Line of Work” continues with the electro-pop offerings, sliding in some tasty horn samples and tremolo guitar, seasoning the song with a south-of-the-border vibe. Sirens in the background increase the intensity as the song reaches it’s end, swirling back upon itself and it slides into “Shitstormy Weather,” a satirical take on contemporary political debates wrapped in a David Byrne-beat.
“La Mia Dragone” slides into an R&B vibe and dances around in a foreign language and is certainly a departure from the rest of the album, but still manages to feel right at home. “Cannes” follows with a prominently featured harp (I think) kicking things off, and the song feels the most “artsy” of the bunch so far. A more spoken word style starts about halfway though the track and it slowly quiets down before transitioning into “The Gold Miner.” I wish we had access to the lyrics/translation for the intro to the song as it certainly is delivered with intensity. When the lyrics switch back to English, the performance has an almost a Robert Smith vocal vibe, reaching and swinging for the high notes embracing passion over perfection. The track is certainly one of the most interesting on the release, switching between languages and styles, ending with an almost world/tribal flavor.
“Lullaby for Journalists” acts as an aural palate cleanser with chiming beeps and a whispering vocal track starting very intimate but morphing into something more robotic, all in less than 60 seconds. This is an audio amuse-bouche from the Sufjan Stevens school of cooking. Interesting and refreshing.
“May” might just be the catchiest (and my favorite) track off the album and is tucked in close to the end. A simple pop melody slowly builds with lush vocals rolling in followed by a striking cello and flute, keeping the ears constantly entertained and guessing at what is coming next. We’d love to hear a full-album from Tom Block, using “May” as a jumping off point. He’s got the chops to make a catchy jingle that would make Brian Wilson proud and I feel like it’s waiting for us right beneath the surface here.
“Bliss” closes out the album with horns returning along with the Cure-esque vocals, firmly cementing the release as a pop art project. Maybe. Dancing between so many genres, it’s hard to put your finger on what Golden Days MMXXII exactly is, but whatever it is, we’ll be pressing play again.
Find out more about Tom Block here
Stream the new release here