PART 1 - "AB SAYS"
Here, AB Records gives you a review of Thomas McConnell's latest EP - 'Worried About Thomas McConnell'. Sit back, relax and have a read...
"Thomas McConnell is back! You may remember that in 2012, Thomas came bursting onto the scene with his debut EP and single, both entitled 'Stop In The Shade'. Since then he has released various covers of Beatles tracks, toured furiously, been featured on one of Mojo Magazine's cover CD's and gained acclaim from the likes of Ian McNabb and Macca himself. Not a bad start! Thomas has now just made his follow up with a second EP, the superb 'Worried About Thomas McConnell'. From the title, to the artwork, to the tracks themselves, the EP is a work of art. His heavy influence from The Beatles continues to prevail, no surprise considering one of his first ever memories was hearing 'Hello Goodbye' in the backseat of a car. However, he is no Beatles tribute act, he very successfully puts his own spin on an already tried and tested sound. The EP kicks off with 'Blame It On Rebecca', which, throughout its three minutes, grows into an exciting and jumpy song with superb instrumentation. This is followed by the slightly more laid back 'Penelope Definitely' with vocals that sound as if they have been performed by a young Liam Gallagher circa 'Definitely Maybe'. No bad thing! This then gives way to the EP's slowest number, 'John'. Perhaps the most meaningful song to Thomas on the EP as he has revealed that it is in the memory of his granddad, dad and, to a lesser extent, John Lennon. It was also written and recorded on the night of the death of his granddad, perhaps giving the song its bare sound and from-the-heart tone as Thomas quizzically asked 'where have you gone John?' The EP is concluded with the Sgt. Pepper-influenced 'Just A Little Bit, Jill' (trumpets and all). Perhaps the best song on the EP, it provides the perfect contrast to the bare 'John' as the bouncy rhythm and trumpets carry the EP to its natural end. Overall, a superb slice of pop, rock, glam, psychedelia and beat and with more acclaim coming in Thomas' direction everyday it won't be long until we see him up on the big stage following in the footsteps of his idols, The Beatles. In conclusion then, based on these four tracks, we have absolutely no reason to be worrying about Thomas McConnell!"
PART 2 - "THOMAS SAYS"
Here, Thomas talks up through the EP track by track and in depth...
'Blame It On Rebecca'
"I wrote this one in 2012 after hearing an Elvis Costello song called 'Blame It On Cain'. At the time, the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking was all over the news and I felt like blaming something on someone, so I chose the name Rebecca because of Rebekah Brooks. It sort of became my most well-known song with a certain crowd of musicians I know, because it went down well at Ian Prowse's Monday Club (which is a night I often play at) so it definitely had to be the first track on the EP. In earlier versions it was quite heavily arranged so I decided to strip it back to give it a fifties, Gene Vincent-feel but combined with my Beatles/Bowie image I thought it had a glam quality, especially when the air-raid siren like synth comes in near the end shooting it into another decade. This was the only track on the EP that was entirely recorded in Newcastle. The stand-out moment of the session for me was doing the Little Richard-esque vocal at the end, I like doing a bit of shoutin'..."
"This was written when I was about seventeen at my grandparents' house in Newcastle. I'd probably just been playing The Beatles' "Things We Said Today" to myself on the guitar because I've taken the strummyness of that tune for my own. It's a song about an imaginary, perfect girl called Penelope. That name has various sixties connotations (Penelope Pitstop, Lady Penelope) so I guess that's why I like it. I wanted this one to sound like perfect, orchestrated, precisely arranged, sixties sunshine pop and luckily, I think that's how it turned out."
"John was written and recorded last December on the night my granddad (John) died. It's a tribute to him, my dad (also called John) who died when I was twelve and to a lesser extent, John Lennon. I didn't really see the point in re-recording to make it more fancy and I'm really glad I didn't because it's better for it. It's definitely the most sombre point of the whole EP but it's also my favourite track on it. It's very bare in the same way John Lennon's, 'Plastic Ono Band' is but I've put a slightly more psychedelic spin on it."
'Just A Little Bit, Jill'
"This is the blistering, uber-Macca pop, bouncy piano ending to the EP. After the sadness of 'John' I quite like the way it just suddenly explodes back to happiness for the final track. This is another track I wrote at my grandparents', this time at the start of 2011. It's easily the most Beatley song on the disc but in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way - especially with the faux-mouthed trumpets. I think when I wrote it I was trying to write a happy version of 'For No One'. It's got a similar falling chord sequence but mine's obviously a lot more upbeat."
Hope you enjoyed this feature on Thomas McConnell! Check out our previous feature on No Matarás!
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