Slowly by Tom Fox – reviewed by Chris Mann


Liverpool-born writer/singer Tom Fox has already made a lot of friends with his first album “Midnight Rain” and with this his second album from which tracks have been available on  He has racked up massive download figures and received radio airplay worldwide. 

Radio presenters have remarked on the individuality and originality of his songs and the record-buying public has commented on his distinctive vocal talent. 

The title track is a very moody ballad with a sparse backing mostly made up of mellow keyboards.  But you won’t notice the backing so much as that lead male vocal.  See how many seconds you can hold off shouting “Michael Jackson”.  I think I managed about 10.  The similarity between their vocal styles is startling.  A lovely warm guitar kicks off Maren Lane.  It reminds me of mid-70’s Isley Brothers tunes.  The vocal sounds less strained than on the first track and this song’s a grower. 

There’s a warm, cuddly feel to Tonight which takes the edge off the dance beat and makes me wish that either the original production or the MP3 conversion had left more clarity in the mix.  The multi-tracked vocal chorus is strong though.  The midtempo Lady Lady features a sexy acoustic guitar and it provides a perfect foil to Fox’s vocal gymnastics.  The multi-part vocal harmonies are very effective and the drums on the long vamp out really work well! 

The tribal rhythm and chopped-up TV sound effects on Replay are reminiscent of some old Bryan Eno material.  These and the repetitive vocal mean that this song isn’t that easy to stick with for the whole four minutes – I didn’t in fact.  I like the sexy Austin Nights with its sparse rhythm guitar and “tick-tock” rimshots.  It’s not another “Human Nature” but it’s moody and moves nicely.  It would have more intensity with a well-recorded acoustic bass.  Great candidate for a remix. 

The 80’s disco beat bounces along behind the alternating dry/processed vocal on Don’t Listen.  This song is crying out for a tighter production and harder tone from the drums and bass.  It’s nearly six minutes long and I feel a focussed, funkier four minutes would have been better.  The feeling is right up to date and urban on Sensitivity 2.  That string sound is pretty.   

The intro to Through the Passing of the Years with a simple keyboard, guitar and minimal percussion is wistful.  When the rhythm hardens up, it starts to sound very mechanical and does not sound right to my ears.  The jangly rhythm guitar masks those same robot drums on Cyberlove and this is a very catchy soul/club tune that features mellow vibes sounds.  The vocal’s in the lower registers too which helps keep things cool. 

The rhythm guitar that opens the funky Undersound is Chic-style but the overall sound is much darker.  The synth bass line is just heavy enough when it’s used with this brooding chord progression to get under your skin.  This is my favourite song and if that guitar cut a little harder and the rhythm was more in-your-face this would be a knockout dance track.  Masters at Work remix?  ‘Macabre’ is the only way I can describe The Spectre’s Lament.  Hammer House of Horror graveyard sound effects and a clumsy, mechanical rhythm don’t do Fox’s vocal justice.  “Thriller” it ain’t… 

Tell Me twists and turns and although it’s pretty, I can’t connect with this song.  I’m already looking at the liner notes and wondering what the two live cuts will be like…  Wayfaring Stranger is maudlin and though the vocal quality is outstanding, the timing is very strange and I would not go out to hear this king of song live.  I also didn’t get drawn in by Morning Serenade which also has strange timing.  Artists who make a stunning impact with a solo voice and acoustic guitar range from Tuck and Patti to Craig David – these two live songs didn’t happen for me… 

I’m aware that I’ve not shouted praise from the rooftops for “Slowly”.  Whether the album works at all for you will depend on whether you like falsetto vocals, particularly Michael Jackson’s vocals.  I’m lucky, I do and this CD has some great moments.  However, I’d have preferred to see the last four songs left off, some tighter production and I’d like to hear the end result in an uncompressed form and with its full dynamic range intact. 

Hear excerpts from “Slowly” on