Welsh singer/ songwriter Tom Emlyn releases his debut album News from Nowhere on 30th May 2022. Described as a cult figure in his Swansea hometown, this album is a direct attempt to reach a wider audience.
Now I’m no stranger to Swansea, so I was intrigued by the promise of an album ‘…inspired by the post-industrial ghosts of the beaches and desolate suburbs of Swansea.‘ What I found was something much more however.
The album was originally recorded by Tom’s now defunct band News from Nowhere, and once you’ve sat with this album a couple of times you will have a much deeper understanding of the creative process than you might have bargained for.
Opening track ‘Ymerodraeth’ is an instrumental delight and the first few bars are the reason why I decided to review the album. Just gorgeous. In ‘Think Twice’ we are introduced to Tom’s reassuring vocals and a slightly more upbeat side to the album.
It’s ‘Caught the Sun’ that starts to let us into what I think is the true nature of this work however. ‘If the audience disappears, say it anyway…’
Next up is ‘Colourless’ – newsflash – this guy sounds like Edwyn Collins, in a very, very, very good way. ‘Beaujolais Day’ is a lesson in jaunty guitars hiding lyrics of deep frustration… ‘You can suffer for your art, you can tear yourself apart, but how long is it gonna take you?‘
Accomplished ‘Under the Street’ and ‘Empire’ are the standout tracks for me. ‘Empire’ is the track I was hoping for when the album started. Simple, gentle, beautiful. Even the cat loved it (a notoriously tricky customer). ‘Oh sweetheart, whatever made you think you could change?’
The album closes with ‘Passerby’ and the lyrics ‘Don’t leave me behind, I don’t know what I am.’
This is an album that makes you tune in to every word. It also for some reason reminded me of that forgotten band, Imperial Teen. So if you like them or Edwyn Collins and you want to understand the drive it takes to put out an album after your band has disappeared, then give this a whirl.
News from Nowhere is out now on CD and digital download – order via Bandcamp
Review by Breige Cobane