Tone - So I Can See You (Rhythm Section International)

Tone – So I Can See You (Rhythm Section International)

I’m not going to lie, the majority of the music I listen to is, well, quite loud. It’s either noisy and
experimental, aggy and bassy or challenging and complex. While I love all the stuff, I sometimes
need a palate cleanser. When those moments come, I reach for Tone’s, AKA Basil Anthony
Harewood, latest album So I Can See You. It’s wonderfully mellow, yet filled with lyrics that get stuck in your head. Harewood’s debut mixtape MIXX 1 was a lo-fi affair. The songs had a primitive swagger to them. A lot felt more like experiments than fully finished songs. And the album benefitted from it. Here Harewood has taken his time and crafted something wonderful.

So I Can See You was written and recorded during the pregnancy, and birth, of Harewood’s daughter. There are elements that feel like he is speaking directly to her. Getting it all out there. It’s a strange time in someone’s life. There are so many hopes and fears that rush through your mind, and to release something as cohesive as this is commendable. It’s also incredibly fun.

The album opens with ‘Nice’. A chugging bassline and ramshackle drums are the backbone of the track. Over this Harewood tells the story of how if you want something you have to work for it. There are no handouts. Put in the effort. Reap the rewards. It’s refreshing. A lot of music doesn’t talk about this. Artists keep all that graft hidden because it doesn’t feel as exciting as writing about love, loss and redemption. The album doesn’t always work though. The reggae of ‘Move Now’ is fine but it isn’t that dynamic. It gets locked into groove and doesn’t really deviate from it.

There isn’t anything wrong with ‘Move Now’, but next to ‘Like it Was Yesterday’, ‘Nailed It’ and ‘Make It Drop’, it feels a bit flat. ‘From the North’ is a bit confusing. The crux of the song is about meeting someone from the North, who is wearing a mask. Harwood raps “Everyday got a different path. Everyday gotta wear a mask. Don’t know what pill I’m gonna take now. Red pill. Blue pill. Both in my mouth” and later “Out on the street. Different me. Different identity. Different me. Gotta covers my identity”. Is he saying that its good they’re wearing a mask, or they’re wearing a mask because they are away from home and don’t want to bring anything home with them? Or is it that they’re wearing one because they’re from the north and they aren’t as clued in as Harewood, who lives in London and is he saying that wearing a mask isn’t a good thing? It’s hard to tell. This is kind of what Harewood does well. He never truly lets us know his thoughts on a subject. He just hints and lets us fill in the gaps. Here the resolution isn’t as forthcoming as on other tracks.

The title track features one of three collaborations on the album, and possibly the best. Coby Sey brings something mercurial that elevates the track to another level. The lyrics are also some of the best Harewood has ever committed to tape. Rumour has it that it was freestyled just after the birth of his daughter. All that emotion, and passion, come across. It’s mesmerising.
Much like the music, Harewood’s voice is unique. Part Yorkshire. Part London. It speaks of someone who is confident in his own skin and aware of the stories he wants to tell.

So I Can See You contains the strongest collection of songs Harewood has released. They might not have the lo-fi charm of his debut release but, damn, they sound amazing and get under your skin. The production is crisp. The playing is tight and the vocals reflective yet pensive. This is the kind of album that gets better with each listen.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.