Tom Emlyn has just released his new single ‘Broken Mirror’ on Bandcamp. The follow up to ‘Like a Cigarette,’ it’s the second of three singles leading up to the album Return Journey Revisited: Scaredycat Vol 1 released on the 5 May 2023.
Mastered by Charlie Francis (R.E.M., Pixies) ‘Broken Mirror’ is a semi-fictional ballad of lost love set against the backdrop of the Welsh landscape with a heavy dose of irony and imagism.
“And beauty is a curse/ But ugliness is worse/And loneliness is always,” sighs Emlyn bittersweetly on this wistful poetic song rich with detail, as spindly guitars, waltzing fiddles and harps, orbit around his tender vocals. Beguiling and anthemic, introspective yet universal ‘Broken Mirror’ speaks to the human experience of lost love. Listen here:
Emlyn says: “This was a song I wrote after I came back from travelling in about 2015. It was a bit of a prototype for some of my other songs like Empire or Under the Weather, which try to use the Welsh landscape as a metaphor for a breakup. It’s not really as biographical as it sounds, there’s a lot of fiction in there too. It also deals with the choices you make in life and realising that there are many ways to look at a situation. It’s quite conversational and imagistic.”
“The instruments were recorded live as one performance in the big hall at the BBC studios, Swansea, which I’ve used quite a few times and has one of the best natural reverb sounds I’ve ever heard. The vocal was added later on. Jamie Nemeth plays the fiddle – he’s a great folk player who has guested with many bands around Swansea and has a talent for improvising. Cadi plays the harp. Cadi is an anarchist harpist from Swansea that I happened to meet when I was travelling in Belgium, strangely enough. We busked a few traditional Welsh folk tunes in Europe, kept in touch and I asked them to come and play some harp on this recording a while after.”
Tom Emlyn crafts honest, swirling evocative songs; tall tales, and dark jokes that cut straight to the bone. His current solo work maps an alternative Southwalian landscape, a hallucinated community drawn from psychogeography and local history. Written on foot and by bus, his observational, poetic lyrics and simple 60s-folk-influenced melodies to explore what it means to belong to a place – the bitterness, the love, and the humour. Compared to songwriters like Bob Dylan and Elliott Smith, Tom Emlyn’s captivating songs explore the particularity and peculiarity of human experience. His sound, while rooted in garage rock, is tinged with psychedelia, folk, jazz, and blues overtones – including a recent adoption of the harmonica as a lead instrument.
In summer 2022, Tom released his debut solo album ‘News From Nowhere’, a bittersweet love letter to his hometown of Swansea, described by Adam Walton (BBC Radio Wales) as a record of “undoubted brilliance, eloquence and energy”. It has been positively received, with airplay and support from Radio Wales, BBC Horizons, R.E.P.E.A.T. fanzine, God Is In The TV, and Joyzine, among others. Tom’s second album ‘I’ve Seen You In Town’ followed hot on the heels of the first – a more mellow, acoustic affair which was also well received. He also released the ‘Scounger EP’ on Bandcamp this February. He is currently promoting these records with intimately explosive solo and band performances across Wales and beyond, with a string of releases planned for 2023.
The follow up to ‘Like a Cigarette’, Tom Emlyn’s new single ‘Broken Mirror’ is released on the 7th of April – the second of three singles leading up to the album Return Journey Revisited: Scaredycat Vol 1 which will be released on the 5th of May 2023.