Tom Caufield: Things I Heard In The Womb album review

US acoustic guitarist Tom Caufield’s excursions into new age, via Spain.

Album artwork for Tom Caufield's Things I Heard In The Womb

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Since making the stylistic shift from confessional folk-rock singer-songwriter in the 00s to instrumental acoustic specialist in recent years, Michigan-born, LA-based guitarist Tom Caufield has built a modest but enthusiastic fanbase in the US. This is his first UK release, which came out in 2015 back home, and consists of just three tracks: lasting 23, three, and 11 minutes respectively. On hearing these softly meandering meditations – full of deftly plucked Spanish guitar, clad in twittering Moog and sequenced strings – you might just drift off into your own private reverie and not notice when one piece ends and the next begins.

And that’s part of the problem you might have getting your teeth into his music. There’s not much in the way of hooks or motifs, just pleasantly drifting soundscapes that sail perilously close to what you might dismiss as ‘muzak’. It does, at least, liven up towards the end. Palace of Stolen Mirrors draws you in with an elegantly mournful finger-picking figure and intrigues with trickles of piano and heady squiggles of keyboard. As aesthetically pleasing background music it does the job, but as impressionistic art it doesn’t leave much of, well, an impression.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock