Tom Williams & The Boat’s second album was funded by fans via Pledge Music, allowing the Tunbridge Wells-troubadour to retain full artistic control. Not that this freedom has led to any unexpected diversions from the mainstream-friendly aesthetic favoured on debut Too Slow. In fact, Williams is refreshingly honest about his artistic endeavours, naming Tom Petty, Teenage Fanclub and Loaded-era Velvet Underground amongst this record’s key influences, boldly brandishing a passion for classic song-writing craft.
Less exalted comparisons might be drawn with fellow ‘someone-and-the-aquatics’ nu-folkies Noah and the Whale, though there’s a lyrical grit to Williams’ work (“I need a dream and a lie that’ll hit my like a big wave… oh, put me in a neckbrace”) that keeps him a step ahead of their pleasant, but ever-diminishing returns. Teenage Blood proves Williams a gifted student of the radio-ready pop-rock genre, with the title track especially efficient at infiltrating the subconscious.