Louis James Album: On Me Todd
On Me Todd is the new solo album by Louis James, the founding member and frontman of Little Ghost, an alternative/indie rock band based in Shropshire.
The first single release from the album was I.R.F.L.Y. Starting out with a simple keyboard-line and vocals, the beat of the keyboard already gives the song an uplifting vibe mixed in with the lyrics of ‘I really f***ing Love you’ straight away tell you this song isn’t your average love song, it’s a lot more real, one you’re much more likely to connect to. As the song kicks on, that simple start is complemented with more instrumental layers, giving the song a real happy feel, as if there will be a resolve, either getting that girl back or accepting that you’re not getting her back, either way, it’s a catchy song with a great chorus.
The B-side from that single release and also on the new album is Thank God For Tom Collins. This song feels like it’s got a lot more energy to the rest of the album while still being really easy to listen to and enjoy. The calmer verses are smashed together with another great catchy chorus. To me, it feels like the song is a story of meeting someone after a few cocktails, possibly the love of your life, or at least some companionship that you so desperately wanted.
Moving on to the rest of the album. The first track Quiet Louis! Grown Ups Are Talking! is a great way to start the album. After the lovely guitar chord sequence intro, you’re pulled by the thumping drum start. The song is a real chilled uplifting song, perfect to have playing in the garden at the height of summer, maybe while enjoying a beer or two! It definitely puts you into a good mood from the off.
Xanax (The Red One) gives a different tone to the rest of the album, while still being fairly chilled. Maybe more of a Modest Mouse or Yeah Yeah Yeahs feel, with the synth start. I really like this song, something about the synth and the strange “oh ah oh ah oh” vocals make it stand out to me. I don’t think the lyrics are quite as catchy as some of the other songs, but I think the point of this song is the way the music makes you feel, it’s something you could definitely hear in an indie night club, the song feels really big.
International Dickhead kind of leads on from the slightly different tone Xanax starts with, little darker to earlier songs in the album, maybe less catchy but more music heavy. It’s very progressive with the synth, starting with nothing, adding little synth fillers in between the first verses, building up more before the chorus while completely taking over during the chorus. There’s more of the catchy chorus that Louis James seems to be making his signature through this album, the International Dickhead, sucking on a cigarette, that dresses to impress, painting an image in your head of the kind of person that’s maybe a bit of a poser.
The final song on the album is another change in tone. As Long As You’re With Me is more like a church sermon, the organs blasting out the final moving hymn of On Me Todd. The vocals firstly change from the rest of the album, it’s more like Louis is speaking from the heart, pleading with someone, whether it’s that he wants someone to stay with him or mourning someone. The mix of the organ with the spoken vocals are really powerful with lyrics of “when all hope had failed me, you came down to save me, when the darkness surrounds me, you have found me, and with your love around me, I can move mountains.” It reminds me of the feeling you get watching the funeral scene from Four Weddings and a Funeral, reading Stop all the clocks by W.H. Auden, it really moves you emotionally which is quite the achievement!
Overall, On Me Todd is a great record, it reminds me of some Early 2000’s Indie Rock, throughout the album I get reminders of Arctic Monkeys (especially with the vocals), the aforementioned Modest Mouse and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s as well as probably some other great Indie Rock bands I can’t name to hand, but don’t think that makes this album a generic indie rock record as it’s most definitely not. I love how this album is so easy to listen to and how it progresses throughout, building from chilled happy music, into the more powerful ending tracks before the final closing calmness, a great journey. You are going to get a lot of these songs stuck in your head. Bravo, Louis!
– Chris Brain