Review Summary: "When there are hard times, I'll step it up."Tomboy
begins shrouded in uncertainty. Noah Lennox’s words, “Know you can count on me”
, sound suspiciously like, “No, you can’t count on me."
It’s the first album in which Lennox seems to have no
idea how he wants to affect the listener, which is something he has never had trouble with before. Even though the instrumentation is more immediate, discernable, and intimate, his vocals sound more distant than ever. These are the same vocals that take the foreground of this album, as Lennox has chosen to pile on the reverb and overdubs to nearly obscene
amounts. In many ways, Tomboy
is a soul bearing experience for Lennox; a point of contention for those who aren’t particularly tuned to the same spiritual compass as he is.
It's an album torn down the middle; half of the tracks are beat heavy dance numbers while the other half are near madrigal drones. Repetition plays an even greater
role than before here, as Lennox's appeal on this record seems to weigh solely on whether or not his drones reach epiphany. While they most often do, there are times I'm left waiting for the sunlight to break through the heavily clouded atmosphere of some of these tracks. Needless to say, Tomboy
works better as a headphones album; drowning you in its ocean of sounds and rhythms. However, swimming through this album can be a bit of a stagnant experience when the tides aren't
That being said, Tomboy's
more droning tracks (such as the aptly named "Drone"
, or, "Scheherezade
") are as cold and indirect as a cathedral choir. While beautiful, his vocals are so distant from the listener that it's hard to feel like Lennox is singing to
you and not at
you. On the other hand, groovier numbers such as "Slow Motion"
and "Last Night at the Jetty"
provide a simpler and more enjoyable approach to Lennox's pop sensibilities. These tracks aren't so aggressively hypnotic, allowing them to slowly work their way into your consciousness. These are also the songs that seem to have the most direction; songs that don't get lost in the abrasive "beauty" of Lennox's vocals.
is nothing at all uncharacteristic or surprising coming from Lennox. His same sense of slathered sunshine and "good vibes" accompany some truly fantastic melodies. However, too often the album becomes directionless and tedious. Where Person Pitch
was something to piece together (or, strip apart), Tomboy
is an album that comes pre-assembled. With fewer moments to extract and absorb, this album simply must be taken as is. Lennox is preventing himself from spacing out and adventuring, as sounds that should appear and then evaporate return again and again to a degree where it becomes overwhelming. Criticism aside, Tomboy
is still terribly catchy whenever it gains focus (and more often than not, it does). And despite the coldness that permeates some of these tracks, Lennox still allows his electronic compositions to retain a sort of "humanly" spirit.
If anything, Lennox's latest is an album that walks listeners through the same motions, proving his heart rests at home; somewhere quaint and cozy and not too far out of the ordinary. If ordinary life is a trip, then Tomboy
is the drug (even if its high wears off rather quickly).