Tom Emlyn is a man of ideas. Many, many abundant ideas bursting out of him. So much so, his latest release, ‘Return Journey Revisited: Scaredycat, Vol. 1’ is his third album release in the short time frame of two years. Even more remarkable when you bear in mind his ‘Scrounger EP’ of original tunes put out at the start of 2023. Unlike previous LP ‘I’ve Seen You In Town’ which documented a life and history steeped in the city of Swansea, his latest work is a collection of material recorded between 2016-2018 that reflect on the inner workings of the singer’s personal world rather than his South Wales surroundings.
The artwork is sparse, containing the album’s title alone in simple white backgrounded black font, ensuring the listener’s full attention is aimed on the music. Revolving around two instrumental tracks that comprise the title – ‘Scaredycat’ and ‘Return Journey Revisited’, this time around Emlyn’s inspirational has no bounds, taking in and using elements of jazz, psychedelia, folk and garage rock, all of which are evident in the singles he’s put out so far – ‘Broken Mirror’ which hears the songsmith’s South Wales lilt over strings and acoustic guitar, lamenting “Beauty is a curse, and ugliness is worse and loneliness is always worst”, ‘Like A Cigarette’ and the gritty, catchy ‘It Doesn’t Bother Me’.
The conventional song structures are here and done really well, like on ‘Serenade’, as well as wonderfully poetic far-out concepts – see ‘The Robin That Went To Space’, but it’s the final two songs that show how far the Swansea troubadour is willing to push the envelope, ‘White Whale’ squalling in with feedback and grungy guitar and final song ‘Every Shadow’, carrying itself at first acoustically, the singer, ever the master of poetic literary devices, graciously describes ‘Every shadow is the sun shining down on everyone’ before picking up a harmonica and giving a whistle to see the LP out to the end.
‘Return Journey Revisited: Scaredycat Vol. 1’ was released on on 5th May 2023 and you can stream it everywhere you normally go to stream music. We’ve got links to the videos of ‘It Doesn’t Bother Me’, ‘Like A Cigarette’ and ‘Broken Mirror’ below, along with a Spotify link to the full LP: