Wednesday, September 15, 2021

With Tom Misch's ‘Quarantine Sessions’, We Might Have Finally Found Something Decent That Came Out Of Lockdown

Back in March 2020, English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Tom Misch, uploaded a video onto his Instagram and YouTube which saw him playing an instrumental cover of Nirvana’s grunge classic ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ in his own, unique, relaxed jazzy style.

Over the next few months, Misch continued to upload jams and covers of other popular songs as, in his own words “a way of keeping [myself] sane, but also to give people some therapeutic sounds to ease their minds during a crazy time” (Instagram). These videos proved very popular amongst his fans, and earlier this month he dropped an eight-track album titled 'Quarantine Sessions', comprised of five of these covers, plus three new tracks.  

Alongside ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and the three new tracks ‘Chain Reaction’, ‘For Carol’ and ‘Missing You’Misch tackles Solange’s ‘Cranes in the Sky’, Crystal Waters’ ‘Gypsy Woman’, Marcos Valle’s ‘Parabéns’, and James Blake’s ‘The Wilhelm Scream’Misch succeeds in covering songs from across the musical spectrum with an effortlessly cool, funky flair, and certainly succeeds in his aim to create something undeniably “therapeutic”. 

The album is largely instrumental, with vocals only appearing in any significant way in ‘Parabéns’, which sees Misch team up with the song’s original creator, Marcos Valle. ‘For Carol’ features Tobie Tripp and sees Misch show off his skills as a multi-instrumentalist as he displays his talents on the fiddle in this beautifully emotional track, providing one of the smoothest cuts on this release. 

There are notable absences from the album, however, with the likes of Misch's infectiously funky mashup of Luther Vandross’ ‘Never Too Much’ and Mac Miller’s ‘What’s the Use?’ not making it on the record due to “sample clearance issues” (Instagram). 

On a first listen, I doubted whether this would be an album I would revisit, especially with Tom Misch’s last two releases – 2020’s ‘What Kinda Music’ (with Yussef Dayes) and 2018’s ‘Geography’ – being such strong records. But the more I listen to ‘Quarantine Sessions’, the more I find myself falling for the gorgeous ambiance and ear-worming tracks (Parabéns’ and ‘Gypsy Woman’ especially stay stuck in my head long after the album has finished). Now, my only issue with the record is that there isn’t more of it. With the album just now looping for the fifth time in a row as I write this, I find myself hoping that the end of quarantine doesn’t mean the end of Tom Misch’s quarantine sessions. 

Tom Bain
Instagram: @Tom_Bain_
Twitter: @TomWritesStuf 

Image: ‘Quarantine Sessions’ Official Album Art (artist: Oliver Macdonald Oulds) 

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