Thomas Neptune is riding a wave of hype and excitement based on winning the pop category in the 2011 John Lennon Songwriting Contest for his song, Unbreakable. The multi-instrumentalist is capitalizing on this springboard with four song EP, Down To Earth, that melds a singer/songwriter persona with a strong, pop oriented sound.
Down To Earth features lush, full arrangements that emphasize Neptune's pop aspirations. They're carefully constructed with delicate layers and subtle touches that never sound thick or busy. It's an extremely polished sound that puts Neptune's strong voice squarely in the center.
Like his contemporaries Bruno Mars or Jason Mraz, Neptune's sweet spot is a modern R&B soul sound. But his voice seems richer and warmer than either of those guys. He handles dynamics well, hitting a Bryan Adams rock sound then dropping to an intimate conversational level on The Good Times.
The songs themselves are fairly pop oriented, colored with an Americana vibe. The vocal drive and production are top notch, but it's early yet to see what kind of depth Neptune will bring to his music over time. Right now, songs like We're Beautiful show off his upbeat side:
Some are on their knees, praying to the EastIt's a wonderful sentiment, but the lyrics are simplistic. It's no sin -- it's a catchy song and it should spawn some wonderful moments in live performance.
Others wear a rosary
Your skin ain't quite like mine, in fact it's rather light
Why can't we all be colorblind
Been all around the world and one thing's sure
Give Down To Earth a listen and evaluate the hype. I expect we'll be hearing a lot more from Thomas Neptune.