by Germar Derron
I've covered Tomás Doncker a couple of other times. Much of what I said previously applies here. I almost copied and pasted several sections, but you deserve better . . . and so does this project.
I chose to review this project because it might mean something beyond art. I thought that it might make me feel some very important feelings at a very important time. He's not hiding his politics or views on race relations in this country. I'll say this: it's genuine. This doesn't feel at all contrived. But is it good?
My problem here is a common one--audience. Many of the tracks seem out of place or lost in time. Anyone twenty years my senior may really connect to the sound of This Mess We Made. But anyone should be able to connect to the lyrics. And those lyrics ring true and fit in any time or style. "Some Ol Dolls" may play better in hip-hop than it does as the lead track here.
According to your perspective, the project is diverse or "all over the place." Regardless, that works for me because like the menu at any diner, I'll find something I like. Here, I like "The Revolution" and "Don't Let Go" and all of those horns. "Don't Let Go" sounds like a track from a different album and it's absolutely perfect. It's put it on repeat perfect. It's simple. The message is relatable. The acoustic guitar and raspy vocal is so classic. And if he recorded an album of "Don't Let Go," I wouldn't be mad at all.
He covers U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." Who doesn't like that song? Awful people, that's who. And he does it justice. And it's a good fit here.
I could break down each song; I won't. The horns make everything better--warmer. The message is apparent, timely, and unoffensive. Every time I felt that his personal politics might be forced on a track--and down my throat--I saw the humor, felt the importance, or a kick-ass chorus kicked in ( on "The Revolution"). That takes taste--a feel--a talent developed over time. Well done.