With work with Noah and the Whale, Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, Kaiser Chiefs, Two Door Cinema Club and Bloc Party between them, Tom Hobden and Eliot James are no strangers to the pop world. Neither are they to working with bands who go further: who create sonic landscapes in their own style.
Their new collaborative album, Tom Hobden & Eliot James Present: Roam sees the pair take this and run with it. Born from a frustration with the lack of opportunities for orchestral strings – and indeed the appreciation for the them – in the world of pop Roam sees Tom and Eliot take matters into their own hands.
Roam is clever. While tracks like ‘Arctic Spring’ would be more than welcome on a Noah and the Whale record, the album elsewhere sounds like the soundtrack of a really beautiful ballet. As the pair explain: “we gladly lost ourselves at times in the wide plains of English Romanticism but at the same time were ever aware of the here and now.” And it’s true. As much as a shared love of neo-Romantic composers may shine through, and it’s certainly something different, the territory that the aptly named Roam explores is, at least in the context of now, entirely forward thinking. Though it may take a while for an album like this to be welcomed fully by the pop world due to its entirely instrumental nature, Roam is certainly a step in the right direction for orchestral lead music.
Roam is out now via Village Green Recordings.