Thomas Tantrum – Mad By Moonlight (Stranger Records)
July 4, 2011 by TP James
‘Mad By Moonlight’ is the long-awaited second long-player by Southampton indie kids Thomas Tantrum. And long-awaited it truly is, as 3 years have passed between releases with only a quick pit stop of an EP last year to whet the appetites of those who took to the sound of their self-titled debut.
That album was a real success, and with an endorsement from Lily Allen and countless tours and live shows in support of, Thomas Tantrum produced an instantly likeable slice of indie-pop, making this new outing a potential banana skin for the band this time around.
So, obviously lots of fans will be eager to know if they managed to equal the previous efforts at the second time of asking.
The answer to that question simply is no. No, they’ve not managed to equal their efforts. In reality, they have absolutely smashed them. ‘Mad By Moonlight’ is a stunning sophomore effort from start through to end. Lead track ‘Sleep’ was a strange choice for first single but strangely endearing nonetheless. It pulls all four musicians in separate directions during the odd, off-key verses only for them to re-find each other in tremendous pop glory as the chorus swoops. Opening salvo ‘Tick Tock’ sets the album up for great things and ‘Cold Gold’ beckons back to 2008, and is the most audible survivor of the Thomas Tantrum from 3 years ago.
Weirdly, this ode to the past is probably the best track on the album, but it shouldn’t detract from the rest of the songs here, as they are giant steps forward taken by a band who truly have their fingers on the pulse of the indie genre.
The sound is bold and immediate. As it passes through your speakers and into your ears you can’t help but be hit by it’s impression, and though not as dark or as brooding, it reminds you of the first time you heard ‘Fantasies’ by Metric, and then thinking they’ve just lived up to their own high expectations of the album they wanted to make. Megan Thomas does a sterling job of leading and being the glue that binds a band that has the potential to stray a little far into the unknown sometimes – that is unless she applies just the right amount tug on the reigns, her calm, appealing vocal keeping all the variables suitably grounded.
All-in-all, it’s a great album. Full of simple yet wonderful pop songs that aren’t very challenging but are a very good listen and will hopefully mean that we will be seeing a lot more of Thomas Tantrum in the near future.