In today’s global, fragmented, hyperactive indie-rock marketplace, one can never know whether a band with a good song is fated to flame out or make a solid career of it. The internet’s relentless focus on the next new thing feeds on the flame-outs, but in so doing ignores the genuine gratification to be had from being witness to the ongoing flowering of an appealing musical sensibility.
Which is all sort of a needlessly complicated way of saying hey, Gothenburg’s Alibi Tom is back with an excellent new MP3. (And Alibi Tom itself is an outgrowth of Out of Clouds, also previously featured.) With bright guitar lines and personable vocals, “Sometimes I’m Afraid” hooks me most of all with a chorus that delivers a full power-pop wallop even as it cagily withholds a lot at the same time–listen to how the band retreats under the melody, which ends up being supported largely by a rapid-fire bass line and a lot of cymbals. That’s the kind of backing you might hear at the end of a lyrical line, not sustained through an entire chorus; the juxtaposition of that nervous sound with a great melodic hook is oddly irresistible to me, and relates to the song’s broader and equally appealing juxtaposition of cheerful vibe and pensive lyrics.
“Sometimes I’m Afraid” is an altered, “radio edit” version of a song that originally appeared on Scrapbook, the band’s 2008 debut, on the British label Leon. (The band’s previous TWF pick, “Fire,” is from the same album.) MP3 via the band’s web site.