London-based indie / pop songwriter Thom Wicks, aka Dead Seem Old, has released a new single this week and I’m definitely digging it. From the catchy opening notes to the infectious clapping that start out “They Won’t Find Us”, I found myself falling under it’s spell and bobbing my head to the beat. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the song made me think of the first time I listened to it but after a few listens it finally occurred to me. The beginning reminded me of something I might hear in a Tim Burton movie. There’s a bit of an eerie feel to the simple guitar picking and ominous beat while the clapping makes it feel a bit more top 40 friendly.
I wasn’t at all surprised when I read about what inspired the track. Wicks wrote “They Won’t Find Us” in a hotel room while traveling around Indonesia and only used a cheap flamenco guitar along with a four-track recorder to demo it. Collaborating with drummer / producer Javier Weyler (Phil Manzanera / Stereophonics), the two agreed that they wouldn’t use any sound that didn’t evoke either of two of Wicks’ key influences – Grimm fairy tales and 1960’s instrumental surf music. It’s a weird combination but it works here. There’s a wonderful simplicity to it while the track still manages to sound well layered and interesting.
I keep going back for more and thankfully have found another track to tide me over until a proper LP comes out. ” We Used to See Faces” starts out a bit lest ominous sounding than “They Won’t Find Us”. There’s a nice airy quality to the opening guitars before Wicks’ vocals chime in for the first verse. While it doesn’t leave as strong of an impression as “They Won’t Find Us”, you can still hear the wonderful influences of the Grimm fairy tales in the lyrics and the brighter guitars definitely evoke the feel of a cool breeze coming across the water while you lounge on the beach on a not too warm but not too cold day.
All in all I think that ” They Won’t Find Us” and “We Used to See Faces” offer a strong introduction to Dead Seem Old. Wicks isn’t afraid to explore and embrace new sounds and ideas that are capable of putting the listener a bit on edge as they listen through. His influences shine through so clearly and I would love to hear an entire album that continues to explore these themes. No word yet on when that might be, but at least I have two tracks to tide me over until it comes.