When Thomas & The Empty Orchestra released ‘A More Equal Punishment’ last year, something seemed to resonate within me. The fluttering of his acoustic guitar, his thawing vocals and open lyrics made ‘A More Equal Punishment’ one of the strongest releases featured on E Major in 2016.
His brand new release ‘Patron Saint’ offers all of that and more. Singing not about the things that were, but rather about the things that weren’t, Thomas Bower manages to capture music in its simplest form. The stripped back production of the track ensures that every breath and every inch of the record is heard, as Bower lays out his heart for all to see – or hear, in this case. His lyrics alone feel like something you should have stumbled across at the back of a musty old book shop, in a poetry book layered with dust and crinkly faded-yellow pages; you’d flick through and find the corner of a page turned down and the lines ‘what fleeting love bloomed in your eyes like a flower, was most likely the wine or the hour’ and ‘while I burned for you you froze up alone, in the maw of some beast, in the dark before dawn’ would be underlined in pencil.
His lyrical intimacy is hard to ignore, but as a musician Thomas & The Empty Orchestra is undeniably skilled. He doesn’t need to throw in heavy drums, Hendrix-style riffs or even add many layers to his music. It speaks for itself and that alone makes ‘Patron Saint’ hard to dislike. Listening to his music, makes me feel as though we (Bower and I) are the only two people in the world. It’s personal, it’s intimate and it hits a place in my heart that I didn’t know existed. What comes next is questionable, but what is certain is that Thomas & The Empty Orchestra has got a good thing going on.