At just 16 years of age, Tom Mouse Smith is the youngest musician to ever be reviewed by The VLM. And by quite a stretch. His debut album, Dystopian Present, is a stunning collection of work recorded, in its majority, in self isolation.
The County Durham based musician’s reputation as a live performer is growing exponentially, having already supported the likes of Sam Fender, James Bay, Catfish and the Bottlemen and The Charlatans.
Opening with the politically motivated ‘Throw Me To The Wolves’, “They’re trying to kill me off and Throw Me To The Wolves,” Smith sings of the willingness of governments in sacrificing the lives of those who are vulnerable in order to maintain the economy.
‘Mind Games’ is a thumping, bluesy, track which evokes images of warm summer nights.
‘Can I Live With Being A Fake’ (the only track not recorded during lockdown), is motivation to anyone live with uncertainty of fulfilling their dream.
Smith’s sister, Hannah (aged 14), provides the backing vocals on ‘Listen’ – proof that the musical talent in the Smith family is not just Tom’s forte.
“I set out to create a piece of work that has a bit if everything. Songs I could play at a festival. ‘Stuck On You’, I imagined the main stage at Glastonbury on a Sunday afternoon. A few songs like ‘Mind Games’ and ‘Man Overboard’ especially are about my frame of mind at the moment. I love the thought of there being a bit of everything. I wanted to capture this moment,” Smith told The VLM.
Dystopian Present shows Tom Mouse Smith to be an incredibly canny and sophisticated musician. This is an incredibly exciting debut, from a budding talent. Despite lockdown preventing Smith from performing, there is the silver lining of knowing he can be producing even more gems like this album.