If We Go Down, We Will Go Together, is an accomplished album which showcases Tim Vantol’s impressive talent. While it may not revolutionise the singer/songwriter genre, it contains catchy tunes, thought provoking lyrics and some nice surprises that make it certainly worth checking out.
The album kicks off with some raucous chorus vocals before sliding into a warm, energetic, full band set up, complete with bluesy style licks on guitar. This set up is present for most of the tracks, but the focus is very much on Tim’s vocals and acoustic guitar. The songs in which just voice and guitar feature are carried by the nuanced, worldly vocal performances, but I can’t help slightly missing the full band set up to provide the depth of texture.
“Bitter Morning Taste” is melancholic with a slight bluegrass feel to the guitar-line and flows well into “What it Takes”, which continues to riff in the vein of American country folk with the addition of drums and bass. This is one of the best songs of the album; as the track lets rip, toe-tapping is irresistible.
Songs such as “Hands Full Of Dust”, are driving tunes that Tim’s voice skates over, the dynamic rhythms create peaks and troughs of texture and volume mirroring the lyrics. “Apologies, I Have Some”, although presumably a reference to Apologies, I Have None, is a song would not be out of place in a Chewing On Tinfoil album with its soaring, powerful, raw vocals bursting into big choruses and breakneck verses and then transcending into something soft and sweet in the end.
The themes of the lyrics are well developed, tying together the songs into a coherent work, deserving of a listen as a whole from start to finish. Dealing with ideas of regret, forgiveness and grappling with how you can move forward with yourself whilst acknowledging your past. The album takes a defiant note with the penultimate “I Could Have Been a Dancer”, where Tim sings: “is it all fucking worth it? Just remember that it could have been much worse.” This is a jump-up, hands on hips track that races through in just over two minutes flat.
The album then ends in quite a spectacular fashion. Tim sings the last track, “Before it All Ends” completely unaccompanied and it actually really works, mainly because of the raw human performance that has a real genuine, ernest quality to it. The call and response phrasing of the melody and the lyrics really puts you in the mind of a gospel tune. In fact there is a lot of Christian concepts used throughout the whole album, ideas of falling and redemption and past transgressions. It suggests of a culture in which these powerful ideas remain after the religious belief underpinning them has gone, leaving them out of context and harder to wrap your head around than ever. Whether or not you agree with this interpretation, the album makes you think, which cannot be a bad thing!
There is plenty to like in If We Go Down, We Will Go Together; fans of Frank Turner, Jake and the Jellyfish, Chewing On Tinfoil and the like should look no further, Tim Vantol is the real deal, well deserving of your attention.