Thomas & The Empty Orchestra – ‘My Old Heart’ (Feat. Otis Mensah) Single Review

After a short musical silence Thomas & The Empty Orchestra is back with a brand new single and a fresh collaboration.

Thomas Bower has teamed up with alternative hip-hop and spoken word artist Otis Mensah to produce ‘My Old Heart’, a dark bluesy single fuelled by life-inspired themes such as duality and ego. It begins sparsely; a single dirty guitar part leading the way whilst Bower’s vocals etch themselves into the flaky painted structure. They’re rich and warm, weathered even, as though recorded late at night and in one take.

The track remains largely stripped back throughout. There’s no crashing drums, thumping bass lines or amplified guitar riffs. As with all of Thomas & The Empty Orchestra’s releases thus far, ‘My Old Heart’ is reserved and carefully considered, yet packs a punch that is far more staggering than ‘A More Equal Punishment‘ and ‘Patron Saint‘ combined.

Aside from a brief guitar solo that slithers in-between the layers, ‘My Old Heart’ comes into its own the moment Mensah opens his mouth. At first its an odd coming together of sounds and genres. Is it blues? Is it hip-hop? Is it even allowed?

The very fact that this style is fairly unheard of in popular music makes it all the more attractive. Mensah speaks with passion, his words cutting through the music like barbed wire, as he proves why he rightly deserved a slot on the BBC Introducing stage at this years Glastonbury Festival.

‘My Old Heart’ is the product of a musical experiment conducted by Bower and Mensah who, having met and performed together at various open mic nights, wanted to explore the combination of folk music and hip-hop/spoken word. The outcome is a beautiful poetic fusion of music and words, that goes way beyond the boundaries of what popular modern music embodies.

Allow ‘My Old Heart’ to blur the lines you draw to define your taste in music and start experiencing the next wave of cool.


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