A folky solo effort from a former supporting guitarist. In true folk fashion, Tom Mitchell likes to tell stories in his songs. Sometimes, this works nicely, as on opening track ‘Hammock’, and ‘Only Partly There’; but at other times, his lyrics can feel a little awkward and contrived. He has an excellent ear for melody and ‘New World‘ is a chock-full of delicately pretty tunes. Tne title track ‘New World’ is haunting and perfectly executed.
Unfortunately, the weakest link on this album is Mitchell’s voice itself – while perfectly pleasant, too often he simply struggles to be heard. The stand-out tracks come later in the album: ‘He Forgot to Check His Heart in at the Door’ is perhaps the most lyrically impressive song, while ‘Run into the Ground’ is bold and ballsy, and demonstrates Mitchell’s guitar prowess. The arrangements and instrumentation on this record are its highlight; having worked as a guitarist with the likes of Duffy for many years, this isn’t a surprise.
New World is certainly a decent debut, but I would hesitate to call it memorable – I can’t help thinking, I’ve heard more genuine feeling and guts on a Mumford & Sons record. There is definitely potential here, but Mitchell is going to have to bare a little more of his soul if he wants to make his mark.
Written by Kirsten Parnell