“Gimme A Call” – Tommy Reilly

3 stars (out of 5)


Tommy ReillyAbout 6 weeks ago Tommy Reilly, a 19-year old singer-songwriter from Glasgow, won the Channel 4  Orange Unsigned Act show and since then the media machine has gone into overdrive.  “Give Me A Call” is his first single and an impressive but flawed demonstration of Tommy’s talents.

The lo-fi live feel of the production is tolerable until the second part of the chorus, where it becomes really messy and difficult to listen to. The production on the vocal in this section really doesn’t flatter Tommy’s voice at all (and it doesn’t work any better on the version on his MySpace page).  Amanda Ghost apparently compared him to a young Bob Dylan on Unsigned Act – I hope she meant as a songwriter and not as a singer because Dylan’s voice has never been his strongest suit.

The real danger of any TV talent show is that it hothouses talent and exposes it to the glare of the media before the talent matures, and this applies to Unsigned Act as much as to any other talent show.  The show has generated a huge amount of hype for Tommy but his style of writing and performing sounds quite natural and might have developed more effectively through continuing on the traditional live performance circuit.

If you can discount the hype and accept that he’s not the next Bob Dylan (closer to something halfway between Paolo Nutini and Malcolm Middleton if you want the authentic Scottish comparisons), what’s left is a good singer-songwriter who needs to find his authentic voice and style.  Maybe the album in June will prove that he’s done that and that this single wasn’t the best demonstration of his abilities – I hope so.

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