It can take a while for an artist with an itch to find themselves. True, the very best songwriters come out swinging for the fences from song one, but others need to search for what’s true down in the avenues of the acolytes. Thomas McConnell started his performing career young and enthralled with The Beatles. Then he released some songs recorded on an iPhone. Now? He’s scratching the itch marked pop and finally stamping it with something all of his own. By Alan O’Hare.
I remember Thomas McConnell. He was the young lad with The Beatles obsession who hit every open mic in town and captured the attention of a few movers and shakers. Always a little more Paul than John, he was last heard of reinvented as ‘Tom Low’ and releasing an EP recorded on his iPhone. Deltasonic put it out and, despite his attendant knack for a hook remaining intact, the wider world shrugged its shoulders.
He’s dreamed it all up again as TV ME now and this time Bowie is the catalyst. But something else has happened, too, McConnell has found his own voice. Sure, the oddball melodies remain more McCartney than, say, Captain Beefheart, but there’s a genuine composer’s curiosity to the wonky pop he’s fronting. Alongside Adam Dixon and Frankie Tibbles, TV ME are a three piece looking for the zeitgeist and bumping up against its bumpers with bouncy keyboards, bubbly beats and Beatles (them again) harmonies.
New single ‘Space Geno’ floats in on a marvellous Macca-esque riff – think ‘Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five’ – before taking a left turn and landing on the sound of now with the deliberate drums and slippery synths of The XX… ish. There remains a psychedelic sixties touch (check out the video below), but TV ME is the sound of McConnell contending again. The Talking Heads-meets-Beach Boys of ‘Peppercorn Boy’ has also slipped out and the signs are good for the Deltasonic band. “The tracks are inspired by childhood, Playstations and memories of old computers,” reveals the songwriter. “Regurgitated pop culture, really.”
TV ME might be looking back to move forward, but there’s enough originality here to whet the appetite for a debut album due in 2018. Bill Ryder-Jones has helped out with the production of ‘Space Geno’ and it’s a big step-up – indeed, it’s vital they retain him (or someone with the same lightness of touch) to polish the many meanderings of McConnell’s musical mania.
“I wanna’ go with you wherever you are,” he sings on the new single… let’s just hope it’s somewhere in the future. TV ME’s is now in their own hands.
‘Space Geno’, by TV ME, is out now on Deltasonic Records
Pic by James Madden