Tom West - A Spark In The Dark

Tom West - A Spark In The Dark

A Spark In The Dark is an acoustic album from Adelaide singer-songwriter, Tom West. This release spans a number of different folk-pop movements and establishes West’s lyrical and instrumental depth.

The album opener, ‘Hush’, is a slower track and features only acoustic guitar and vocals. West manages to create a full sound with moving harmonies, and ‘Hush’ leads smoothly into ‘All The Bees Fled’. This is a slightly faster track and sets the pace for the remainder of the album. ‘An Insignificant Person’ is one of the strongest tracks on the album, and is reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois, with its gradual horn and percussion builds. Another highlight is ‘One Hundred Cannons' Song’, a slower track with subtle strings and keys. West’s vocals seem to compliment the sparing instruments effectively, making A Spark In The Dark a well-balanced acoustic release.

West creates a unique sense of time and place in ‘Jonathan's Farm’, with lyrics like, “I’ve been to Carlton and North Adelaide – it ain’t the same as the creek at my place”. ‘Weird Ballet’ is the final track on the album and at 10 minutes and 47 seconds is by far the longest. It starts slow and builds as keys and drums are introduced. The droning acoustic guitar takes on a hypnotic quality until the chords fade into an atmosphere track with birds chirping and feet moving. The music finally kicks in again with a faster-paced, more upbeat tune, eventually seeing the album out. I’m unsure how these individual parts connect structurally, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Many of the tracks take on a dream-like quality, as West balances sparing instruments with thoughtful, reflective lyricism. A Spark In The Dark is definitely worth a listen for fans of the acoustic/folk/pop genre(s).
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