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The Tomas Doncker Band

The Mess We Made

Review by Gary Hill

This album is very much a message kind of release. It’s all about the crazy, messed up world in which we live. It does a great job of conveying that message. Musically, it lands generally in a soulful R&B kind of world. There is a modern electronic edge to a lot of it, but it’s still classic more than techno. I should mention that I previously reviewed the second song here as a single, and I’ve used that review for the song review here for the sake of consistency.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Some Ol' Dolls

There is a bit of a modern techno vibe to this. Add some down home blues and more to the mix. You’ll be near the sound of this. Other than the vocals, this is more rhythmic than it is melodic. Still, it has some classic blues sound in terms of the backing vocals and the harmonica.

Church Is Burning Down
There are basically four components to this song to be addressed. The first I’ll touch on is the lyrical message. The song is in reference to a recent spate of predominately black churches being burnt down in the US. That message is important, and for that this is topical and well done. Next, we’ll look at the song structure. That’s not really as successful as there are few changes here and the piece is just sort of one straight-line jam. Looking to the music itself, it’s mostly rhythmic without a lot of melodic elements at play. To me that makes it a bit too stripped back. The vocal performance, though, really elevates this. I love the multiple layers of vocals. I’d say this song has a very modern sound, but is rooted in classic formats. It’s good, and timely, but not great. I’d just love a bit more meat on the bones in terms of the song structure and instrumental arrangement.
The Revolution
This gets a parental advisory on the lyrics. The music has a real retro soul kind of sound. In some ways it reminds me of something Parliament might have done. Yet there is also a modern element at play here.
Mess We Made
With references to social media and smart phones, this is a very modern piece in terms of lyrical message. It’s got some great old school sounds, though. It’s part soul, part blues and part jazz. Still, there are some modern elements at play musically, too. This is just such a cool grove. It’s one of my favorite pieces here for sure.
Don't Let Go
An acoustic guitar based number, this has a blues basis, but it really seems nearer to some of the mellow alternative rock of acts like Beck. It’s a classy tune with some intriguing layers of sound heard over the top. It’s understated. That actually somehow makes it stand out more rather than less.
Blood and Concrete
Here is a jazzy kind of soul tune. This has that same modern edge to it. It’s also well rooted in classic Motown kinds of sounds. It’s another classy piece.
Still Haven't Found
A cover of the U2 song, I love this. It is the least modern sounding piece here. It is set in a great bluesy soulful sound. It almost seems to ground the set. There is a jam later in the track, though, that even makes me think of Lenny Kravitz a bit.
Time Will Tell
After some of the heavy themes present on this album, it ends with the potential for hope. That’s important. Musically this has a great soul groove to it. It’s more classic than it is modern, but both elements are present to some degree.
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