Says the dog on the album's cover, "¡Yo quiero Lo Tom."Barsuk Records, 2017
7.6 / 10
In my review of David Bazan’s Care earlier this year, I remarked at how the musician seems to be on a creative streak, releasing albums in quick succession. Care came out at the beginning of March. And now, in July, we have another release from Bazan; although, he’s part of a band named Lo Tom. This four-piece finds the former Pedro the Lion frontman working with other Pedro the Lion member TW Walsh as well as Starflyer 59 members Trey Many and Jason Martin. Call it a supergroup, but they would just call it four friends getting together. But unlike you and your friends getting together, Bazan and company write killer rock songs. While Care was a melancholy, synth-laden affair, Lo Tom is a raucous blast. No sad emoji’s just smiley faces.
“We’re just getting together and having a good time,” is often a cliché statement of any project involving friends. Most of the time it doesn’t ring true. If anything, the project’s music is stuffier and more serious. Here, Lo Tom sounds like its members are actually having a good time. The songs feel natural not forced. “Sing that song/ At the top of your lungs/ Don’t listen to the static/ Just listen to the drums,” sings Bazan on “Overboard”. It’s a song with a guitar riff that sounds familiar, conjuring the spirit of indie rock bands from older times. However, it’s no less fresh or exciting coming from Lo Tom. You want to keep listening and waiting for those drums.
Lo Tom also seem to channel their favorite AC/DC jams on songs like “Bubblegum”, which has a “Hells Bells” sort of vibe, and “Find The Shrine”, which has a little essence of “Dirty Deeds”. Like I said, these guys are having a good time. “Bubblegum” is catchy while also a little strange. In its literal sense, a person keeps waking up with gum in their hair. Perhaps a victim of some cool prank. Or is it a metaphor for simply wanting to sleep all the time and not face the problems of the day. Who knows, but it’s damn catchy. “Every morning you got bubblegum in your hair/ You blink your eyes and wonder how did it get there,” Bazan sings. Some mysteries are never answered. But there’s no mystery surrounding Lo Tom. It’s a fun ride.