T.C. is an unsigned Canadian artist, and he’s just released a interesting album of all-original material. 

Since T.C.’s last release, “Every Cloud Has a Sulphur Lining”, he’s managed to pick up an entire band for recording, and he’s improved his songwriting skills. “Every Cloud...” had several broadly-based diatribes against easy targets such as television and tobacco companies, but the new self-titled album expands his range of topics. That’s good news!

There ARE still some easy ones, though. “Zero To Hero” is possibly about reality TV stars. “Instant Coffee Lifestyle” is all about the inauthenticity of modern life. 

There’s a core of songs, though, that could maybe fall under the category of “People that piss T.C. off for one reason or another”, and that’s where the songwriting skills have advanced. There are plenty of Elvis Costello-ish lines on these tunes (good example : “She was one mistake that I made/Though I’ve laid her to memory” from “She Has Everything”). Clever turns of phrase, hurtful and hurting asides, it’s all here. T.C. is finally aiming his vitriol with some originality!

The instrumentation is impeccable. The songs are, for the most part, hooky as anything, and the choice of embellishments is kept simple. A nastily-distorted harmonica here (“Zero To Hero”) or horn parps there (“Take a Look Around You”) add a whole new dimension to the music. 

All of this adds variety, and completes the T.C. picture. The makings of an exceptional musical composer are here. 

Some highlights : 

“Whenever I Sink My Teeth Into You” is filled with those marvelous horns again, and has a descending-note bit just before the chorus that does the job admiringly. We’ve got the extra added bonus here of a male-choir repeat of the chorus near the end of the song, while the music builds and finally fades back to the acoustic guitar that the tune started with. 

“Feeling My Way Around In the Dark For You” is a blues-oriented tune with more of that nasty harmonica. The song is actually a bit surreal and psychedelic, like something that was done by a garage band in the 1960s.

A word about the vocals : T.C. is a decent singer, but nearly all the songs are delivered in a sort of clenched-teeth roar that becomes a bit monotonous after a while. Fortunately, the songs are strong enough to overcome this, but I’m betting Mr. Folkpunk has a voice that has a lot of versatillity. He needs to start showing it.

I’m looking forward to whatever T.C. Folkpunk does in the future. For now, I give this album an 8 out of 10 on the England Swings scale of 1-10.

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