Thomas Tantrum – Hot Hot Summer (Stranger Records)

Southampton’s Thomas Tantrum have at times been Thomas Tedium, with singles such as ‘Work It’ and ‘Swan Lake’ pigeonholing them as a kind of esoteric, arty doppelgänger of The Ting Tings. Though undoubtedly catchy, to some their anarchic indiepop fun has nevertheless been blighted by an enthusiastically frantic sound and the sing-talking/dissonant yelps of Megan Thomas. A somewhat ‘marmite band’, then, it is pleasing to me that on ‘Hot Hot Summer’ Thomas Tantrum have finally produced an unabashed pure pop song to prove their credentials as top tunesmiths.

Any accusations of sounding… well, annoying… could not be levelled here. With their matured and polished new sound, as further displayed on Mad By Moonlight (the new album this single is lifted from), TT have replaced the unhinged scrappiness of old for co-ordinated pop brilliance straight from the studio. Thomas’ Tracy Tracy-esque vocal remains remarkably gorgeous throughout – sensitively pleading with resonant tones (as on predeceasing single ‘Sleep’, the keyword here is very uch ‘sung’) – while the almost militant drumbeat is reined in by uplifting, melodic guitar riffs and even the occasional ornate synth.

Assimilated with the type of attentive production that may have complimented their earlier material, ‘Hot Hot Summer’ is an indication of a band finally delivering what has been hinted at for years; a band whose well-honed pop style is now very much coming into fruition. Moreover, Thomas Tantrum have crafted this wonderfully bittersweet pop song without compromising any conceivable musical ‘edge’ (N.B. – listen closely to the instrumental version on the B-Side for concrete proof).

No tantrums needed over this one, it is their best single to date and completely symbolic of their new (firmly improved) direction.


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