| a solemnly eloquent fierce panda one sheet
The Act: TOM HICKOX
The Release: 'WAR, PEACE AND DIPLOMACY''
The Format: COMPACT DISC & DOWNLOAD ALBUM
The Release Date: MARCH 10TH 2014
The Label: fierce panda records (The Catalogue Number: NONG 84CD)
1. ‘The Angel Of The North’
2. ‘The Pretty Pride Of Russia’
3. ‘Out Of The Warzone’
4. ‘Your Baby Was Asleep’
5. ‘White Roses Red’
6. ‘Let Me Be Your Lover’
7. ‘A Normal Boy’
8. ‘The Lisbon Maru’
9. ‘Good Night’
The Truth: Tom Hickox is a serious young man for serious times. He lives in downtown Camden, plays upright piano, sings with a snowfalling voice sufficiently deep, crisp and even to draw wise comparisons with Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave and, ever-attentive to the smallest of sartorial details, he wears three piece suits by day and by night time gig. With typical light-heartedness Tom’s debut album is called 'War, Peace And Diplomacy'.
‘War, Peace And Diplomacy’ includes richly melodramatic lead-off single ‘White Roses Red’, released on February 24th, and 'The Angel Of The North' which, as tends to be the modern digitalised way, appeared in November as a free download release designed to fan the flames in the lead up to this album release. Those flames have been fanned slowly, for this is sombre, serious music with fearsomely sad strings. The compelling video for ‘The Angel Of The North’ was filmed in the haggard southeastern seascape of Dungeness. Much like the song the video vibe was elegant, enigmatic and beautifully unsettling.
Considering that Tom's father was the late Richard Hickox CBE, one of Britain's most renowned classical conductors with over 280 recordings to his credit, it surely becomes obvious where this love for swelling strings and grandiose widescreen soundtracks comes from. Except with typical Hickoxian perversity Tom actually rejected classical music (“I knew as a kid I didn’t want to compete with my dad.”). Rather, he embarked upon on his own journey via Beckett, Pinter and rock'n'roll. Along the way there was an English degree at Manchester University to be studied for, drums in a school rock band to be battered and a solo DIY album to be released which, it was gleefully claimed, sounded like Four Tet collaborating with Scott Walker.
The most significant turning point may well have been listening to ‘Cole’s Corner’, Richard Hawley’s 2005 Mercury Award-worrying opus. “It was the first time I had really heard anyone contemporary in Britain making music that wasn’t far off what I had in mind, with his baritone voice and nuanced production, and really romantic sense of place.” So recalls Tom who, thanks to a series of fortunate events, was deeply flattered to eventually find himself in Sheffield, actually recording with the Hawley band, being produced by Colin Elliot and just generally living the slow-movingly dignified dream. ‘War, Peace And Diplomacy’ is the end result of those mightily respectful endeavours, and the start of a whole new adventure.
That whole new adventure continues when Tom, having already played a special Music Week show in 2014 as part of Pandamonium, tours with Lindi Ortega, aka "the love child of Johnny Cash and Nancy Sinatra," in January, much like this:
JANUARY 14th READING South Streets Arts Centre
JANUARY 16th EDINBURGH Voodoo Rooms
JANUARY 17th ABERDEEN Lemon Tree
JANUARY 18th GLASGOW Celtic Connections Festival
JANUARY 21st SHEFFIELD The Harley
JANUARY 23rd BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy
JANUARY 24th MANCHESTER Deaf Institute
JANUARY 25th LIVERPOOL Leaf
JANUARY 27th NEWCASTLE The Cluny 2
JANUARY 28th LEEDS The Wardrobe
JANUARY 30th LONDON The Garage (changed from the Borderline)
JANUARY 31st BRISTOL Thekla (changed from St Bonaventure’s Club)
FEBRUARY 1st BRIGHTON The Haunt (changed from The Hope)