Tom Moriarty: Fire In The Doll's House

~ Saturday, 26 March 2011
London based singer songwriter Tom Moriarty follows the worn path of troubadours armed with an acoustic guitar and a note book who has a tale to tell and an every so jaunty slant on the world. Moriarty's greatest asset is his smokey and gravel laden voice but this is a voice that deserves better than many of the songs on here. Recorded in the legendary Abbey Road studio with producer Ian Grimble (Mumford & Son and KT Tunstall) there is something rather soulless and sterile about it which suffocates the music.

This is a record that has frustrated me greatly, as for me this is a record that has a split personality. Half the songs on here are mind numbingly ordinary, boring even, while the other half is like it was written by a completely different person who understands the dynamics required to make music with soul. The record opens with the title track and the combination of Moriarty's voice and the driven acoustic guitar pickin' hooks you instantly then the bridge and chorus reduce it to levels of blandness from which it can't recover. Dance With Me is karaoke country by numbers while Ask Me Why is mediocre busker fodder. Where Are You Now and From Now On are only marginally better but still on the wrong side of insipid.

The best track by a country mile is the dirty alt-folk of Life's A Mystery where for the first time you actually feel that Moriarty has pushed himself. His voice gets to shine in a way that the other songs on the album just don't let it as he competes with distorted hammond and guitar on what is a brilliant song. All You Need and Smile If You Wanna Get High are also songs of real quality that blends soul with rock and pop, and bares comparison to the likes of Van Morrison in his prime. These songs, along with the Kitty, where Moriarty does his best Tom Waits impersonation, illustrates that he knows what it takes to write great music and is better than the rest of this album and its production has to offer.

[][][ (2.5/5)