Tom is the sophomore LP from Minneapolis punk outfit Heart To Gold, due for release on April 8, 2022 via Memory Music. Following the release of several demos, the band’s first album, Comp, was released on April 20, 2018 and produced by Remo Drive frontman, Erik Paulson. Vocalist/guitarist Garret Whiteoak would then spend the next three years writing the music for their follow-up. After signing with producer Will Yip’s Memory Music label, Whiteoak, bassist Sid Johnson and drummer Blake Kuether would reunite with Paulson to record Tom.
Prior to listening to Tom, I was unaware of Heart To Gold. The lead single, “Respect,” was posted in our Spinning Thoughts group chat and I decided to give it a listen. The opening lines of the song immediately caught my attention. After listening to the rest of the song, it left me wanting to hear more. “Respect” is a song a lot of people can relate to during times like these (well, maybe except the “bathing in the blood of those who deny” line). I felt like it captured the frustration and hopelessness many are feeling right now. I’m glad I ended up listening through the whole LP — Tom is really fun punk album with some midwest emo influences, driving guitars, pounding drums, great vocals from Whiteoak and a hilarious album cover featuring Johnson.
Housing 10 tracks, Tom is short, to the point and delivers banger after banger. Whiteoak’s vocals burst with energy, matching the intensity of the lyrics and music on every song. The guitar work throughout the album is solid and I really like the melodies on “Sonic” and “Waves.” I also thoroughly enjoyed some of the sequencing on the album. “Overwhelmed” blends right into “Respect,” as does “Miserable” into “Mary.”
My only real complaint with Tom is that “Capo,” the seventh song on the album, feels out of place on the record. After six straight bangers, the energy is suddenly disrupted with a short acoustic cut. I can understand if the band intended for the song to be an interlude but it’s the only song on the record like this and following track “Moon Rock River” immediately resumes the energy of the frontend of the record. I think it could’ve been left off or reworked to match the rest of the album’s energy.
Overall, Tom is a solid sophomore effort from Heart To Gold. Filled with relatable lyrics against hard-hitting bangers, it’s an incredibly fun listen. Even though Heart To Gold wasn’t on my radar before, they certainly are now and I’m looking forward to hearing what they do next.