Tom Fun Orchestra : You Will Land With A Thud
A not insignificant part of me wanted Tom Fun Orchestra to be piss-taking orchestral interpretation of classic Tim Finn tracks, each song stripped of its vowels in a vaguely funny, if simplistically offensive attempt to patronise our Trans-Tasman cousins. The reality, however, is different. Tom Fun Orchestra hail from Canada, have nothing to do with New Zealand and – oddly enough – have more than enough instrumentation to fall under the orchestral banner.
Tom Fun Orchestra’s protagonist is Ian MacDougall, whose gravelling tones imbue the songs on You Will Land With A Thud like Tom Waits wandering unannounced into a European folk and pop festival. When You Were Mine smacks of The Pogues, a lush, even-paced brass intro that gives way to the frenzied gypsy-madness of Rum And Tequila. Throw Me To The Rats is part solid rocker, part folk-pop, part self-flagellation, Watchmaker basks in the shade of Cab Calloway on the upper west side and Marshall Applewhite encases Dave Edmunds in a glistening brass cover.
For a change of mood, tempo and genre, Last Of The Curious Thieves is a rollicking southern blues narrative worthy of Charlie Daniels, Highway Siren Song Breakdown heads westward for some semi-buffed ‘70s rock and Heart Attack In An Old Motel is a thundering and threatening tale of excess and imperfection for which folk music was arguably invented. There’s more blues-tinged gypsy frenzy in Behind The Fence, morose contemplation in Bottom Of The River and a fittingly wild, Kill Devil Hills-eque rural rocking send-off in title-track You Will Land With A Thud.
Ultimately there’s no pigeon hole wide enough within which to fit Tom Fun Orchestra. You Will Land With A Thud is, like the band’s name suggests, a whole lot of fun, with enough twists and turns to keep your feet tapping and the spirits – human and distilled – flowing.