Monday, April 19, 2021

Captivating country-folk: Tom Peregrine’s ‘The Boy’ EP review

A self-described ‘old soul in a young body’, German singer-songwriter Tom Peregrine is gaining ground with his distinctive brand of country-folk music. His debut EP ‘The Boy’ chronicles young adulthood and self-improvement and allows Tom to showcase his soulful voice and gentle guitar playing.

Tom’s influences include The Tallest Man on Earth and Johnny Flynn, but he has also covered songs by the likes of Bob Dylan and Phoebe Bridgers on his Instagram, giving them his own unique twist. He lived in Ireland for a year before working on the EP, and the country’s influence is felt on this collection of tunes.

The EP opens with the tender lead single ‘Hear Your Heart’. Old school friend Paulina Bartsch provides backing vocals, complimenting Tom’s raspy voice as the pair harmonize. The melodic acoustic guitars and string arrangements enrich the record, as do the emotive lyrics. However, it is Tom’s voice with its distinct pronunciations which really shines against the stripped-back instrumentation.

In the opening lyrics of the hopeful ‘To The Boy That I Was Yesterday’, Peregrine sings, ‘I go out and be the boy I want to become, I go out and be a flower under the sun’. Peregrine has said that the EP explores ‘feelings of youth and self-growth' along with nature and this track is no exception. It is a relatable song, with poetic lyrics such as ‘treat life like a kiss’, which demonstrate Peregrine’s prowess as a songwriter.

‘Inner Strife’ opens with beautiful melancholic strings, enriching the atmosphere already created by Peregrine on this EP. But despite its title, the song is a more upbeat affair. Peregrine has said that he wrote the song when he was still at school, but it fits in well on this cohesive collection. Interestingly, his vocals here are reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum.

The jaunty fourth track ‘Better Place’ would not be out of place on the soundtrack of an independent movie. The track is imbued with optimism and contains beautiful violin solos at the midway point and ending. The song speaks to a generation that recognizes the effects of climate change and is making more environmentally-conscious decisions as Peregrine sings, ‘It’s up to us now, we’ll make this world a better place’.

‘Beefriend’ is a toe-tapping tune, laced with jangling guitars, and lyrically concerned with nature and environmental justice too. It is a thoughtful song, recounting the plight of bees from a bee’s perspective.

EP closer ‘The Song’, which was released as a single in September 2020, is a gentle, reflective number. It was written for Peregrine’s friend Sarah Collins Froggatt, who also designed the cover art for the EP. Peregrine looks back in retrospect on his youth, singing ‘I miss to be understood’. The final line, ‘The stars soon will shine once again’, provides a reassuring sense of closure.

Heralded as a ‘poetic, engaging singer-songwriter’ by Ear To The Ground Music, the future looks bright for Tom Peregrine.

Sarah Taylor


Image credit: Tom Peregrine ‘The Boy’ EP Official Cover Art by Sarah Collins Froggatt

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