After reading up a lot on the background of Tom Slatter, I’ve come to appreciate his music more than I did at first. Listening to the Blackwater E.P. was something entirely new to me. Slatter describes his sound as what would happen if Nick Cave recorded with Genesis after watching too much Dr Who and I’m inclined to agree with that.
The subject material reminds me of the music from Black Horse Fairy as he discusses bleak topics such as drowning, death and fear. However, as slow as Black Water starts with it’s ominous beat and folk style guitar, it turns to a more euphoric sound three minutes in and makes for a pleasing end to the song. The quiet stuttering start to Night Fall gave me an uneasy feeling as Slatter sings about the fear of going outside in the dark.
There’s no denying Slatter’s musical talent, though the style of music and topics may leave some feeling uneasy. To some the music may sound badly made, but I feel this raw style is essential to the feeling of displacement that the E.P. provides.
As with Black Water, Ghosts in My Dreams has a slow start and picks up slowly throughout the track before an upbeat ending from just after two minutes. It reminds me of the track In the House/In a Heartbeat which was the main theme for 28 Days Later, composed by John Murphy. It starts off simple enough and then as it reaches it’s crescendo, you can’t help but consider who the song is about and what situation they must be in.
The Black Water E.P. is the type of tracks you might put on when wanting to relax after a long day, a night out or coming back from a festival or event. The smooth melodies never get too upbeat (with arguably a slight exception to Ghosts In The Water) allowing you to sit back, close your eyes and let the strains of the day drain out.
The E.P. is a grower and the more I listened to it, the more I appreciated it. I let a few other people listen and my suspicions of the uninitiated not liking it were confirmed. You have to really like this style of folk/prog rock to fully benefit from the collection of tracks. If you’re unsure about Tom Slatter and his work, I recommend going to one of his many outlets of his music, such as his YouTube channel, his Bandcamp profile or his actual real life website – the latter where you’ll also see some pretty amazing photography.
I like the album and I’ve taken a long time to get round to writing about it, which I regret because it’s been out a year now. If you’re looking for something to add to an already bursting iPod or a little stocking filler this Christmas, at £4 for the CD you can’t go wrong.