Ginger Tom are a new group straddling the fence between Barnsley and Doncaster. In just a few months, they’ve started to get a name for themselves in Sheffield and are already London bound for a series of live dates soon.
The Barnsley half of the two, Tom Prendergast is already known as the frontman of Shermer and the sticksman in metal band CF Bundy. Dan Washbourn, from Doncaster, was one of Tom’s student at Doncaster College. Following a number of jams together, the pair started recording. Both sing, both play guitar, and during each song, every instrument you’ll here, both on record and live, is played by them.
The Ginger Tom EP is their debut recording, featuring three songs, plus a bonus live version of one of them. The three songs hit you like a bucketful of mid-90s post-grunge, college-rock glee. Bits of REM at their poppiest, Del Amitri, Hootie and the Blowfish, The Wallflowers and even Van Morrison at his most upbeat (that’s been a while). But most of all, lashings of early Counting Crows, before Adam Duritz stopped sounding like a hapless young lover, and started to sound like a desperate old fella, still pining for the same gal, twenty years later.
The opening track Promise is maybe the weaker of the three songs on offer, but this is down purely to the real strength of the other two. The rhythm and the bass being brought to the front of the mix keeps the song interesting, and the bridge lifts the song on par with what follows on tracks two and three.
If I starts stripped back but progresses with various uptempo, acoustic rock layers. Dan and Tom’s vocals compliment each other so well, they can swap around on a whim and it often goes un-noticed. Their harmonies sound great, and here, I think it’s Tom that takes lead. The song is really strong, and the bonus live rendition shows how versatile it is, being performed slowed down, with bare piano and guitar, and sounds just as good.
Seven Years though, is the big hitter here. It’s instant, joyful and is the sound of two totally accomplished musicians onto a winner. Lyrically and rhythmically, it’s Counting Crows’ Mr Jones, pining for a lost love, but it manages to miss the schmaltz completely, staying upbeat, unlike much of the dross that you hear on the radio (that Blunt fella).
Seven Years and If I could pass off as hits in many genres, sung in any voices. I could see Ginger Tom making a buck or two writing hits of this quality for the already famous. But given they’re a duo, and they’re able to move around the UK at an easier pace, than say a four piece, given the hard work, I reckon it could really pay off big for Ginger Tom. It’s a sound, so beautifully crafted that it could genuinely win over a mass audience, overlapping the real music lovers with fickle pop puppets. South Yorkshire has itself another winner here.