This article first appeared on the old Lostmusic blog on 7th February 2009. I intend to feature other neglected bands in the coming months – so I thought I’d repost this on Odd Box as a starting point.
This is the first in series of posts that will focus on older records. Forgotten gems, if you will. This was always supposed to be something that Lostmusic would focus on – under appreciated music from the past. So the first post in the forgotten Pop series is upon us. And it is actually from the fairly recent past. 2005 to be precise.
Using Wiki to jog the clogged up memories tells me that Tompaulin started life in Blackburn, Lancashire in 1999 – with a nucleus of three members Stacey McKenna (vocals), Simon Trought (guitar) and Jamie Holman (bass + vocals) – other members came and went . Their early singles released on Action, Track and Field and Ugly Man all culminated with their début LP being released on Ugly Man in 2001. Their early singles and the début record ‘The Town and City’ gathered the band a relatively large indiepop following, plenty of critical acclaim and a couple of John Peel Sessions. The band released a Jim Reid/Ben Lurie (ex Jesus and Mary Chain) produced EP in 2002 – ‘Give Me A Riot in The Summertime’ which whilst sounding wonderful seemed to be a full stop for the band and it was their last release for 3 years and the band seemed to lose any momentum they had built up during the previous 3 or 4 years.
After a pro-longed silence the band emerged in 2005 with ‘Into The Black’ (again on Track and Field). For whatever reason, the LP didn’t catch fire with the public. The band always had a gritty edge that set them apart from other indiepop bands of their time. Their 3 years away had obviously been a dark time for the band as ‘Into The Black’ was an LP imbued with a melancholy and darkness that seemed to alienate the pop fans. For me ‘Into The Black’ is one of the best records of the past decade and the fact that it seems to have sunk without a trace is something I can’t fully understand. Not a record to cheer you up – ‘Into The Black’ is where Tompaulin got personal with bleak lyrics like “You promised we’d be happy, but I promise you I’m not” setting the tone. ‘Into The Black’ crackles with emotion. Jamie Holman’s songs are achingly good. And revisiting the LP some 4 years later I am still blown away.
The record picked up favourable reviews from the UK broadsheets and assorted music publications but somehow the band failed to take off and now with members straddled between the north west and London the band drifted apart. So ‘Into The Black’ was Tompaulin’s parting shot and it’s a great record to end on.
After Tompaulin – Jamie Holman reappeared in his new band The Fischers (their début 7″ release was on our very own label – Lostmusic). Simon Trought now runs a little recording studio in London and he’s much in demand for his skills and he was once the Trout – in Hayman, Watkins, Trout and Lee. If I remember correctly he also played in an early incarnation of Darren Haymans current band The Secondary Modern. If their My Space is to be believed he still plays in Mathew Sawyer and The Ghosts. Stacey McKenna has, as far as I am aware, not yet returned to the world of music. Although there is always hope that she will reappear someday.
Tompaulin had one further release on Track and Field which I’ve not mentioned yet. ‘Everything was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt’ which was a collection of the bands early recordings – I seem to remember it coming out before ‘Into The Black’ whereas the Wiki entry suggests it was after.