“This is a selection of my solo songs that I hope you enjoy for what they are; moments in time when I was on a journey that ultimately brought them into being.” So says former Little Angels and current Wayward Sons frontman Toby Jepson.
There are twenty songs taken from various releases between 2002 to 2013, including four previously unreleased tracks. They show Toby’s vocal and compositional prowess across various styles: poppy punk, a grunge tinge, heavy funk, quality ballads and a hint of Little Angels, inevitably.
There are many highlights but for me, ‘Dear Mama’ is the main one. The track has great rhythm and Hammond-driven phrases back a great vocal performance. The punky pop of ‘Unwind’ has so much energy and it just drags you in…imagine a melodic Sex Pistols or (ironically) The Jam with improved structures! ‘Back In The Day’ manages the same feat to grunge as he relives past times in the US. ‘Weight Of The World’ is a complex piece of genius with so many things to take in: listen to that cracking bass line, the clever percussion, oh, and that voice. ‘Raising My Own Hell’ may not seem so accessible at first, but it has a wonderful depth to the music and some great stinging lyrics.
The four ‘new’ songs are worth the entry fee, even if you already possess the sources of the rest: ‘Little Bird’, ‘Overwhelming Me’, ‘Losing Side’ and ‘Picking up the Pieces’ bringing new dimensions to rock, ballad, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty like, and country rock respectively are really worth it.
So, those four mean you should get this varied and enjoyable collection if you’re already a Jepson fan. All twenty tracks mean you should get this if you haven’t listened to him outside of Little Angels or Wayward Sons because there is lot to savour.
Viewfinder is out now.