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Tom Vek may not be the most recognizable name in music. After releasing his acclaimed debut We Have Sound in 2005 he went off the map completely and re-emerged six years later with Leisure Seizure to the delight of his cult following. The six year hiatus didn't bring a massive change in direction for Vek, the difference in these albums was mainly in polishing Vek's production skills and refining the homemade dance rock feel of his first release. Leisure Seizure was a refinement but it was hardly a seismic shift in direction. Tom Vek's third album Luck is yet another shuffle sideways rather than a step forward.

First track 'How Am I Meant To Know' opens with a pitched down vocal loop of the song title before Vek's idiosyncratic voice chirps in with some of his typically angsty lyrics. With a voice as clear and cutting as Vek's, it's difficult to ignore some of his more cliche lyrics like: "How can I make sense of this situation after everything you've done to me/ I know it's not fair just sitting on the fence, not committing to anything." Musically it doesn't sound too far away from his 2005 album, as good as We Have Sound was, it was released 9 years ago and not much has changed.

Thankfully second track and lead single, 'Sherman (Animals in the Jungle)' is fantastic. A burst of synth noise is backed by driving drums and a guitar riff so catchy it should be classified as a threat to human health. Influenced by Tom Wolfe's 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, it showcases all of Vek's intelligent influences and musical talent as the song drops out and then bursts back to life. Undoubtedly the high point of the album, 'Sherman' matches his previous great tracks like 'Nothing But Green Lights' and 'A Chore' with a solid execution of his unique style.

'Broke' is essentially an instrumental track and has a heavier focus on synths not seen as prevalently in Vek's previous work. It feels a lot longer than its 4:25 length and this is a criticism which could be levelled at an album of tracks which lack the sense of succinct execution found in Vek's previous two albums. 'Pushing Your Luck' showcases Vek at his most frustrating and teases a theme that runs through the rest of the album. This frustration comes from the juxtaposition of an instrumentally great track with the chorus of the words "all you do is push your luck" repeated again and again. 'Trying To Do Better' and the brilliantly titled 'The Tongue Avoids The Teeth' both have similarly catchy danceable beats which are impossible to appreciate as Vek repeats their respective titles again and again and again.

Tom Vek's voice has always been monotone and distinctive - like Ian Curtis or the bloke from Editors, they'll never win X-Factor but the voice is part of the charm. However, the charm wears off on 'The Girl You Wouldn't Leave For Any Other Girl' as an acoustic guitar rambles around a few chords and riffs whilst Vek performs Luck's main trick of repeating the title of the track until his voice cracks and wanders completely out of tune. It sounds incredibly out of place on the album and is striking in comparison to the tone of the rest of the album

Most of the lyrics on Luck seem so careless compared to Vek's previous work. Even though lyrics were never his main strength, without a clear evolution in sound from 2005's We Have Sound, through to 2011's Leisure Seizure, and now three years later with Luck, it's hard to ignore that Vek still writes some cringeworthy lines. At times it seems like Vek is trolling with his incredibly teenage-angst lyrics considering he is a meticulous man who makes very intelligent sounding pop music. He produces everything on the album and for a man who spends time perfecting each and every facet of his tracks it seems baffling as to how his lyrics can be so sub-par. In an interview with Dazed and Confused, Vek reveals the reasoning behind his lyrical style:

"There are lines in this record where it's not me saying them. I've always liked that about lyrics. You sing something, and you have this luxury... Because you don't see any punctuation, it might be a question, or it might be sarcastic, or this person that you can't see might be rolling their eyes. I would encourage people listening to this record to imagine somebody rolling their eyes the entire time."

If this is Vek's intention for his album then Luck should be packaged with a 'Parental Advisory Ironic Content' sticker because it really isn't all that obvious that he has decided to ditch truthful lyrical content. It seems like a cop out when all his lyrics can be read as sarcastic. The poor lyrics and minimal change in style makes almost all of Luck's tracks sound like slightly more polished B-Sides to his debut of 11 years previous. It's a shame because when Tom Vek is good (see: 'Sherman') he is very good indeed but sadly his angsty/meta-angsty lyrical content and lack of memorable tracks makes for a disappointing third release.

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