Tom Slatter is a UK singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who writes eclectic and somewhat bizarre experimental prog/rock tunes inspired by Steampunk sci-fi. And since 2009 he has been self-producing an array of EP and digital albums with some very intriguing titles, which include: Spinning The Compass (2009), The Steam Engine Murder & The Trial Of Seven Bells John (2010), Shoot Every Ghost (2011), IronBark (2011), Papercuts Sunlight Show (2012), Earthbound (2013), and Warden's Song (2013). Unfortunately these titles are only available as digital downloads. But on Slatter's Bandcamp page he offers free or 'pay what you want' access to the tunes.
For Slatter's 2013 release "Three Rows Of Teeth" he finally produced a physical bare bones Digipak. (Sorry no lyrics). But great artwork from Joe Slatter. (brother ... father?)
He has also made his 2014 EP Through These Veins available as a physical Digipak.
Lyrically the songs cover such wickedly delightful themes as conversing with the dead, time travel, replacing body parts with machinery, a girl with missing eyes, and the occasional murder.
Musically the material ranges from acoustic folk, experimental avant garde, alternative rock, odd metered prog epics like the three part "The Time Traveler Suite", and weird and wonderful nightmares like the off kilter track "Self Made Man" with dissonant out of tune guitar work and equally unsettling vocals.
On his website Slatter aptly describes his music in this way:
"What would it sound like if Nick Cave started writing songs with Genesis after watching too many episodes of Dr Who? How many songs about replacing your body parts with mechanical alternatives is too many? Does the world need a steampunk/sci-fi inspired prog act? Tom Slatter set out to answer none of these questions, but accidentally did."
Tom Slatter and "Three Rows Of Teeth" is one of the most unique albums I've heard this year, making it difficult to compare it to any other artists. But since replacing body parts with gears is a theme that runs throughout his music I'll do a little gene splicing and body modification of my own to describe the clockwork concoction that is the music of Tom Slatter: extract equal parts DNA from Radiohead, Peter Hammill (Van Der Graaf Generator), Kevin Gilbert, x-Crimson alumni Pete Sinfield, and Syd Barrett. Add to that the imaginative works of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Clive Barker, as well as the nightmarish imagery of the 1989 Japanese cyberpunk movie 'Tetsuo, The Iron Man' - and a twist of British humor.
And there you have "Three Rows Of Teeth". Recommended for the adventurous listener.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on June 15th, 2013