Best known as vocalist and lead guitarist for local hard rock big boys Trucker Diablo, Tom Harte has chugged on stage throughout Europe and the UK, even supporting legends like Foo Fighters and Thin Lizzy. Over the past ten years he’s built a healthy repertoire of chunky riff-driven rock, and although his career has touched on a softer, more heartfelt side with tracks like ‘Where Angels Fly’; Tom has now turned down the drive and lifted the acoustic for a brief but explorative EP with a focus on regret and introspection.
‘What About Us’ starts the EP with a gorgeous acoustic tone and springy, laid-back riff. From the get-go, Tom trades his bellowing roar for a soft-spoken and melancholic country twang. The minimal accompaniment allows his voice to shine over these tracks, with the bridge here being particularly impressive.
The arpeggio laden love song ‘All Night Long’ is next. Themes on this EP aren’t about downing beers with the lads, this is your conscience kicking in the next day telling you that you’ve done something wrong. It’s a cute love song about missing the warmth and security of your partner, and the importance of forgiveness in a relationship.
‘Last Train Tonight’ rolls up next with some lovely meaty chords, this being the most active and carefree of the tracks here, initially. Even without the gain, Tom crafts interesting hooks with his guitar. Lyrically this edges on humorous at times as it follows a drunken meet-up through the streets. However it ends with themes of regret and melancholy as the narrator laments that he “forgot to say what I wanted to say” as their partner boards their last train home. The fun night is juxtaposed with loss as Tom sings that he’ll meet this person “on the other side”, giving the idea of regret a much heftier weight.
Finally, ‘Prison Walls’ is a muted chugger with some nice reverb on the vocals. It caps off the EP with a hopeful touch. Given the introspective nature of the record, it’s worth considering whether the imagery here is reflective of an emotional prison as the song discusses the resilience, hope, and camaraderie found in love and family.
This EP is a concentrated effort to expand on Tom’s ability as a songwriter, and it’s worked. The three facets on display: the voice, the guitar, and the lyrics all are used to craft emotional stories that wouldn’t easily fit with Trucker Diablo’s fist-swinging bravado. What Tom’s done here is tease us about his ability as an everyman’s songwriter, telling tales that anyone can relate to in a palatable and subtle fashion, while letting us know that Tom Harte is someone to keep an eye on.
Highlights: ‘Last Train Tonight’, ‘What About Us’