Tom Misch – Geography

Multi-instrumentalist and loop machine aficionado Tom Misch makes funky, jazz-influenced music which, unfortunately, veers too far into the world of cheesy pop on his debut

Album Review by Kenza Marland | 02 Apr 2018
Album title: Geography
Artist: Tom Misch
Label: Beyond The Groove/Kobalt Music
Release date: 6 Apr

From his early days on SoundCloud and YouTube, Misch’s musical popularity grew rapidly online with his hip-hop-friendly Beat Tapes. The dreamy, warm production of prior releases has, sadly, been somewhat lost on this album.

With a far higher number of up-tempo tracks, the evident disco influences don’t quite work here. South of the River, while boasting a catchy hook, is crude both lyrically and musically. The DIY studio production lacks depth and subtlety, despite the numerous head-nod moments. Lost in Paris offers a strong – but far too short – feature from GoldLink and the track is full of moments in which you could be forgiven for mistaking Misch for Ed Sheeran.

Water Baby – featuring regular collaborator and friend Loyle Carner – is a real standout, however. Sounding like a summer day in the city, this track should become a widespread anthem for the warmer months, with Carner’s mellow flow acting as the perfect complement to Misch’s production. Similarly, It Runs Through Me featuring De La Soul returns the South Londoner’s groovy guitar riffs to their element, and it’s euphoric sunshine sound is successful.

It’s a shame then that other songs don’t work as well. Misch takes centre stage on Geography, particularly vocally – and there are times when the limits of his voice become evident. Misch has never pretended his music wasn’t primarily simple, fun and happy, and opening track Before Paris is a great example of his ability to make great, uncomplicated instrumentals. But he needs other voices to carry more of his choruses.

This festival-friendly record attempts to turn Tom Misch (whether intended or not) from a producer and guitar-player into a pop star. It hasn’t quite paid off.

Listen to: Water Baby, It Runs Through Me