Tom Vek

Leisure Seizure

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AllMusic Review by

As reflected in the title of his second album, Leisure Seizure, Tom Vek took his time following up his acclaimed debut We Have Sound. Five years, to be exact. The way he spent that half-decade wasn’t exactly lackadaisical, though: he took three years to build his own East London studio and teaching himself different production techniques, and another two writing the songs that became this album. Vek's new digs are a big step up from the digital eight-track on which he recorded We Have Sound, and this is reflected in the more expansive, polished sound throughout Leisure Seizure. The rippling electronics on songs such as “Aroused” would have come off as quaint and quirky with Vek's old setup, but here they’re as accessible as they are creative. Similarly, “We Do Nothing”'s playful layers don’t distract from its momentum. Likewise, the pop instincts that were sometimes obscured by Vek’s sonic limitations on his debut are at the fore on the single “A Chore” and the excellent “A.P.O.L.O.G.Y.,” which also reflects the album’s darker tone, the other big change from his We Have Sound days. Leisure Seizure's sonic maturity flows into its subject matter, especially on moody looks at relationships such as “Seizemic” and “Someone Loves You.” “Close Mic’d” captures the album’s twin obsessions of love gone wrong and recording with fittingly intimate vocals surrounded by flitting electronics. Despite all this growth, Vek is as idiosyncratic as he’s always been, whether he’s comparing romantic growth with cardiovascular fitness or likening the night to an empty cup. There’s also the matter of his drawling vocals, which aren’t nearly as polished as their surroundings. They’re less grating than on his debut, but their roughness stands out on “On a Plate” (yet they actually enhance “World of Doubt” and “Too Bad”'s chaos). Vek is a self-made musician who embraces these kinds of flaws, and more often than not, makes them work to his advantage, and Leisure Seizure's independence and accessibility are a testament to that.

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