Tommy Alto is being hailed as Vancouver’s next indie-pop star as his second album, I’m Coming Home, moves away from the folk and country sounds of his debut, Scream My Name!.
This isn’t to say that Alto has completely abandoned country. Some of the tracks on I’m Coming Home, like “This Song (Is for the Girl I Love)” and “I’m Coming Home” carry a distinct folk sound, with a storytelling aspect to the lyrics found in some traditional folk and country music.
Still, Alto resists placing his album firmly into one genre, or even two. While most of the album comes across like an indie-pop album made for the summer after high school graduation, “Do You Remember When” sounds like a cross between the new Faber Drive and Stereos, and the penultimate track “Just to See You Smile” is a remix—both showing off Alto’s developing skills with his home studio and technical editing.
The focus on Alto as an indie-pop artist despite all this is likely because it’s when he’s exploring this genre that the album is most enjoyable. Opener “In Love” is catchy with its simple chorus and guitar heavy instrumentation. “Highschool Heartbreaker” uses a keyboard to add pep to the song, creating a bouncy, danceable beat that leads into the electrical songs to come.
“Baby I’m Gone”, which features Alto’s cover band-mate Brett McCrady, seems to be the link between folk and indie on the album, and Alto does an excellent job of linking the genres populating his sophomore album.
At times an eccentric listening experience, Alto’s vocals remain strong throughout. Lyrically, it’s obvious this is a post-high school album, but given the production work Alto has managed on his own, it’s likely only time before he achieves status as the next indie-pop artist to watch.
Top Tracks: Away Somewhere (Song I Wrote For You); “Highschool Heartbreaker”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)