National Music Reviews
Gold Arc // Construction
Street: 02.11 and 08.05
Tomato Flower = Hala + Alex G (Beach Music) – Homeshake (The Homeshake Tape)
Long-time friends Austyn Wohlers, Mike Alfieri, Jamison Murphy and Ruby Mars create an intricate display of charming, wise tunes from a potpourri bag of breezy pop and psychedelic rock. Recently touring with Animal Collective, Baltimore-based Tomato Jam has produced two short EPs this year, Gold Arc and Construction, that provide easy listening and are sure to be great company for those missing the days of carefree freedom.
The two albums intertwine with one another, both showing off flexible cords, smooth vocals and light synchronicity. On Gold Arc, “World to Come” has a homelike, comfortable beat you hear in oldie bands like The Mamas & The Papas or on Japan’s Tin Drum. The lyrics say it all: “There’s a place for me / In the world to come / My garden, cruel and beautiful / In the ways to come.” The track is endearing through a nice, dense mixture of guitar and drums. I can say the same of “Truth Lounge,” although that particular track gets pretty heavy.
“Stone” offers a bright, savvy melody to start, kicks it up a notch, and then, unfortunately, it’s over. Yessir, my only complaint I have is the fact that all of the songs (from both EPs) are not long enough—each finish right when I get into it, when I want to hear more of the band, their impressive sound and musing lyrics.
The newer EP, Construction, has greater depth than Gold Arc. “Taking My Time” is delightful with compelling lines sung by Wohlers and Murphy: “I’m taking my time / Playing the line / In the heart of a golden sun / Divine / Gracious and kind / In the heart of a velvet song.” Moreover, “Construction” is one big timewarp of a track. The flux in instruments, the conniving craft, the harsh but gripping transitions—it’s a good one, one I highly recommend checking out if you listen to anything It’s the same with “Bug,” which reveals Tomato Flower’s exquisite ability to combine different genres, with slabs of metal infused perfectly into a psychedelic rock theme. Again, all I want is for each song to be longer …
The two EPs are, fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed listening countless times to both while on hiatus. There’s something keenly nostalgic about Tomato Flower’s sound as a whole. I can’t quite put my finger on it, as if it’s engaging in a reverse nostalgia, wanting or thinking of wanting something one will never be able to grasp or attain. Of course, this is impossible, but I tip my hat to Tomato Flower for letting me at least fantasize for just a moment in time—whatever that feeling of intense nostalgia was for me; backwards or not. –Kassidy Waddell