|Tom Hickox Sails On!
|4th September 2014
|Share: Artist Profile
| ** TOM HICKOX GOES JOURNEYING WITH 'THE LISBON MARU' ON OCTOBER 8TH...
…AND SETS SAIL FOR NEW SEPTEMBERTIME UK TOUR **
a thoroughly windswept fierce panda one sheet
The Act: TOM HICKOX
The Release: 'THE LISBON MARU' / 'LOOKING OUT TO SEA'
The Format: DIGITAL SINGLE
The Impact Date: OCTOBER 8TH 2014
The Label: fierce panda records
The Truth: Tom Hickox remains a serious young man for serious times. He lives in downtown Camden, plays upright piano, sings with a voice sufficiently deep, crisp and even to draw wise comparisons with Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave and, ever-attentive to the smallest of sartorial details, he wears three piece suits on stages big and small.
Released on October 8th, ‘The Lisbon Maru’ is the third single to be taken from Tom Hickox’s resonant debut album, ‘War, Peace And Diplomacy’, which itself appeared on March 10th. Continuing the nautical theme the exclusive b-side is called 'Looking Out To Sea', for this is a man with stories to tell singing stories about people with stories to tell. Rather excellently Tom's September tour takes him to Portmeirion, Perranporth and other places of coastal intrigue - from The Prisoner to prisoner-of-war ships, the world really is Tom's lyrical oyster.
Neil McCormick from The Telegraph anointed the album with five stars and bluntly opined: “Tom Hickox is the most powerful and original lyrical songwriter this country has produced in years.” He also noted how the “Sombre, elegant melodies host nuanced, gravely dramatic character studies that have a Pinteresque precision.” In fact Mr Hickox is frequently described as a man out of time, a throwback to a more thunderously dignified era. Yet while the music may indeed often reflect old-fashioned virtues with its fearsomely sad strings the subject matter on ‘War, Peace And Diplomacy’ – as you can possibly tell from the heavyweight leatherbound title – brings our songwriter crash landing into the modern world.
Specifics are vague: Tom is a man who’d much rather the listeners untangle his lyrical balls of wool themselves. What we can surmise is this: considering that Tom's father was the late Richard Hickox CBE, one of Britain's most renowned classical conductors with over 280 recordings to his credit, it surely becomes obvious where this love for swelling strings and grandiose widescreen soundtracks comes from. Except with typical Hickoxian perversity Tom actually rejected classical music (“I knew as a kid I didn’t want to compete with my dad.”), and embarked upon on his own journey via Beckett, Pinter and rock'n'roll. Along the way there was an English degree at Manchester University to be studied for, drums in a school rock band to be battered and a solo DIY album to be released which, it was gleefully claimed, sounded like Four Tet collaborating with Scott Walker.
The most significant turning point may well have been listening to ‘Cole’s Corner’, Richard Hawley’s 2005 Mercury Award-worrying opus. “It was the first time I had really heard anyone contemporary in Britain making music that wasn’t far off what I had in mind, with his baritone voice and nuanced production, and really romantic sense of place.” So recalls Tom who, thanks to a series of fortunate events, was deeply flattered to eventually find himself in Sheffield, actually recording with the Hawley band, being produced by Colin Elliot and just generally living the slow-movingly dignified dream. ‘War, Peace And Diplomacy’ is the end result of those mightily respectful endeavours, and the start of a whole new adventure.