The Town and The City by Tompaulin – Album Review

the town and the city

By Matt Callard

They’re dust now, needless to say. But Blackburn’s Tompaulin released three excellent, utterly unsuccessful albums in the first half of the 21st century.

Each of them is in thrall to sixties pop, Morrissey’s outsider defiance, Belle and Sebastian’s arch tunefulness and Nick Drake’s dreamy English wistfulness. The Town and the City is their first and best.

the town and the city albumA massive, cute, blue-eye pop classic called ‘My Life in the Movies’ kickstarts the album. The unashamedly bookish ‘Richard Brautigan’, where they name-check ‘the poetry wars of 1984’ follows. ‘Daydreaming’ really should have been given to Dusty in 1965. It’s that good.

“In thrall to sixties pop”

Then, just as you suspect they’re straying into too-clever-for-their-own-good territory, they deliver a heart-stopping ballad about brutish small town intolerance and thuggery called ‘The Boy Hairdresser’, then underpin it with the aching, broken refrain: ‘How did those days turn to these days?’.

Heroic then, in its small, knowing way.


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