EP REVIEW: ‘ Bloodsongs ‘ – Tom Branfoot
Ever since we caught his storming set at Manchester’s Fuel, we have been enraptured by Tom Branfoot. The West Yorkshire troubadour bursts onto the scene with his debut EP ‘ Bloodsongs ’. Blood, tears and wine drip all over this five-track collection, which constitutes a strong introduction to Branfoot’s DIY balladeering.
Physical trauma is used as a metaphor for emotional distress throughout the Bloodsongs EP; if Branfoot isn’t being bled dry, he’s being crucified or drowning. However, this isn’t to say that Bloodsongs lacks tenderness. Indeed, the harshness of Branfoot’s growl and guitars is offset perfectly by the delicate, yearning lyrics. If Bloodsongs had a colour palette, it would be metallic greys and muted browns. The odd flash of red that pops up here and there is effective in breaking this up, the lyrical equivalent of the little girl’s dress in Schindler’s List.
Opening the EP, ‘Post-London Blues’ is ladened with Morrissey-esque laments referencing as to how ‘the North is testing’ Branfoot, whilst icy guitar lines twist around the vocals and a thudding drum machine beat ties everything together in haunting fashion. A theme that follows throughout the release, putting forth a clear indication as to what the 4 remaining tracks entail. Impressively, and to no surprise as a musician putting out his first release, Bloodsongs what recorded from Branfoot’s bedroom. Yet, tracks like ‘Crucified’ make effective use of reverb, sounding as more like it was recorded in an aircraft hangar.
Arguably the highlight of the record is the swooning, penultimate ‘Hungover, Heartbroken’. Written in the space of only an hour in Leeds train station, it waltzes along on a doo-wop beat and serves as an unapologetically romantic ode to a departed lover. The EP finishes on a less rose-tinted note, however, with the howl into the void that is ‘Neither of Us Have Anything’, which fades slowly out, representing a lingering kiss-off to an old flame who Branfoot “was wasted on” as the listener is left hoping that the lover from ‘Hungover, Heartbroken’ belongs to the more recent past than that of ‘Neither of Us Have Anything’. Bloodsongs is an eerie and beautiful introduction from the upcoming musician.