The recent release of the single A Million Pieces from Tom Kills openly declared he was an artist with an inspired feel for bringing emotion, shadows and superbly crafted electronic sounds into vibrant and impactful soundscapes for the senses and thoughts to revel in. The song also bred an enthused anticipation for his debut EP Semi, something the six track release more than fulfils. The release is a real feast for the ear and beyond, its touch and caress upon the heart wholly infectious
From Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire singer, songwriter, musician and producer Kills has created a collection of songs with a heart seeded in the eighties and passion firmly set in today. The release leaves one glowing and grinning from an accomplished journey through a diverse electro pop kaleidoscope of sound. Semi dances with the heart and teases the senses whilst all the time keeping the mind active with emotive lyrics and compulsive ambient textures behind the mesmeric melodic flow. It is also hell of a lot of fun recognising bands and sounds from the past though the songs themselves have an independent life borne solely from Kills.
Silly Little Self opens up the EP with a reflective purge of emotion, the song a stirring expressive recognition for all in some degree. The music slowly envelopes the ear offering a heightened richness and touch whilst Kills surfs its melancholic wave with a vocal that encapsulates the tones of Bowie, Numan and Matt Johnson. Lined with inner shadows the song wraps itself around the senses without inviting pity to unveil its heart. Though instantly mesmeric the track is a brooding darkened pleasure which leaves the following Dvorian Grey to bring a lightened swell to the proceedings.
The track brings a mix of sound that swarms warmly around the ear, its pulse offering the haunting elements of a Japan, the darker corners of Strangers, and the dazzling pop of a Visage. Dvorian Grey never breaks out in to an urgent glittering song but melds its enthused beacons of melodies into a darkened tome, the result a pulsating spread upon the ear.
Next Kills takes us down the darkened footpath of Catastrophe, its Joy Division/Depeche Mode corridors dimly lit with the warm melodic torch of an OMD. The overall effect is a wonderfully crafted eager play with the ear and a nostalgic feel of The The. Again one should note that despite all the references mentioned to try and portray the impressive sounds within Semi, the songs are spiced by these flavours but the recipe is all Tom Kills.
The excellent Million Pieces still holds court with the same majesty as when first we reviewed it, its beauty and tenderly hypnotic sway a dawning feast for all the senses to bathe within. Previously the likes of Depeche Mode and Strangers were stated as ingredients the song reminded of and though they still remain the more the song serenades the ear the likes of early Human League come to the fore, the League before misguided hairstyles and candy hooked songs came along. Graceful and bewitching the song is a near perfect electro pop pleasure, its power fuelled by the reserved energy and the caring nature of music and vocals.
Though still the favourite song so far from Kills and probably the best on the EP, Million Pieces is seriously challenged by Sex Robots. With a symphonic intro and computerised word the song steels up the EP with an industrial muscle and delicious electro waltz for the emotions. Part Marilyn Manson part Gary Numan with an excitable splash of Thomas Dolby the song leaps to its feet taking the listeners hand in a cyber dance and lustful affair. If you are not singing along and moving your limbs by the end of this irresistible piece of joy check for a pulse.
Semi is a true pleasure and treat, every aspect of the EP is a joy and impressively crafted. Light and dark fuel the release and one suspects Tom Kills too by the emotive edge unleashed on Semi and long may they rage with music this satisfying.