A few years ago I had a massive obsession with the band S.C.U.M. I thought the name was brilliant, I loved their mysterious sound and ended up with a collection of their b-sides/demos. They took you on some whirlwind and hypnotic trip. Then they broke up. My head can never get itself round a band calling time, so I sulked and played their record regardless. Quite a bit of time has passed since then, and this evening front-man Thomas Cohen took to the stage at the Village Underground for his first ever show as a solo artist.
Only a fool would compare his old band to what he is doing now. What he is doing now is ethereal, brooding and sublime. He manages to take you on this almost spiritual journey that’s hard to come by in others. There is something truly special here, maybe it’s because it’s his first ever show. Maybe he doesn’t know how great he is. Hopefully in time he will. As I gazed at the stage, I was in awe of the sound Thomas and his band were creating. This is the kind of music that HAS to be heard. Whether it be on stage like this or an intimate setting- on your own in your room, it is just a divine sound that has been born.
He has a gorgeous and delicate stage presence that almost makes you feel as if what you are watching isn’t meant to be in front you. It feels entirely precious, but you can really feel and sense what it means for Thomas to be on the stage with his band to perform these songs including the title track of his debut record, Bloom Forever which I believe was written the day his son was born. If you listen carefully to the lyrics, you can pick up on this. Whilst listening to these songs this evening, you can really feel the love in the songs and the devotion that has been poured into them. There’s no denying just how talented he is- not just as a singer and musician, but as a writer. His words are beautiful and they truly feel like poetry.
As far as debut live shows go, this is one I think a lot will remember. The songs really do take you on a mystical journey. The journey feels safe, although you don’t know where you are going. It feels familiar, but you’re still a little unsure. I’ve got every confidence that Bloom Forever will be one of my favourite records of the year and will be an utterly captivating debut record that I’ll treasure.
I firmly believe that when you see a band or singer live, it should leave you wanting to make something of your own or to even see things differently. Thomas Cohen did both this evening. A feeling you usually get from seeing a band you are in love with for the billionth time, Thomas has captured in an instance. This set what just a hint of what is to come. The songs make you feel like you’ve been dreaming all of your life, and you’re waking up to something better
Hopefully Thomas will tour his record, Bloom Forever which is out in May on the equally brilliant Stolen Recordings. The songs are delicate, open and simply beautiful. He allows you to take the words and make them your own. Entirely selfless and so far from indulgent, these songs will own a special place in your heart when you need to go some place tranquil and sacred.