Birmingham might be one of the England's biggest towns, however it isn't really renowned for its Indie music scene. The fact that UB40 are the "biggest" band coming to my mind from the city proves a very sober point. But the city must be trying to bounce back, right? That's why we talked to Tom Clabon, a self-admittedly "boring person that weird things happen to" who has thankfully just released his debut record Unhinged and put Birmingham [back] on the Indie music map.
Tom Clabon's lyrics on the record opener Unhinged (Intro) resonate today more than ever. "Anglophobia, Fear of England. Androphobia, Fear of men. Unhinged". Brexit is on everybody's mind, the country is facing a major crisis and loads of questions still remain without answers. Tom Clabon is a young musician from Birmingham stuck in the middle of it all. "Things look bleak", he sings. His music is used as a tool of contrast. Don't get me wrong, it's not a politically motivated cacophony. Tom has always "liked songs which paired dour lyrics with cheery music", for instance, Tom doesn't sing, he croons.
"I'm quite similar to Morrissey in many ways, apart from the looks, talent, charisma and Veganism"
Tom is clearly declaring "ANXIETY" in great big quotation marks! Especially in regards to the lyrics found on the record. If you look at Right Wing Swine, Things Look Bleak and Ripened, it's real politics discovered from living in Birmingham and being made to grown-up. "I'm ripened. I'm ready to rot. Stagnation. I have blossomed like a rose, now stand back, watch me decompose" Tom reveals over another fuzzy jerky melody.
It's a cry for help. The signs of anxiety are overwhelming and almost too hard to deal with. Another example Unhinged is as musically rich and worldly as Tom gets; it proves he can be as hilarious and grim at the same time. The Panic is another cheerfully morbid song advocating the perfect Morrissey-esque subject title. "Give me comfort, give me pills. This panic's giving me the chills / Find a romance, settle down, even the the panic abounds. With a partner who reassures you can be calmed but you can't be cured". It's bleak, but Tom's sense of melody gives it reason. Each song has an originality, a distinctive theme and sound.
"I accidentally tried to sell a CD to homeless man, someone gave us a tenner for a song about pesto, and we somehow blagged a free Nando's chicken. Hardly throwing televisions through hotel windows granted"
Without a doubt, Tom Clabon stands out from the usual Indie Popper. He's got a motivation and a narrative to match. But does it resemble the likes of Morrissey too much? "There's a song I can't stand and it's stuck in my head" sang the Manchester boy. We don't know. What we do know is that Unhinged is an album you don't want to like. Its brutal reality is best to be ignored. But the truth is, though Tom Clabon's vision of the world might be bleak, it portrays today's society perfectly. And hell, whether you like it or not, the music doesn't half stick in your head!