DEON TOH Letters (Self-released)
There have been a couple of drummers in rock history who have vacated the drum seat to step up in front to take the lead role – most notably Don Henley (Eagles) and Phil Collins (Genesis). Well, Deon is probably previously best known for drumming with S-ROCK outfit Flybar but has now well and truly put himself out there as a singer-songwriter in his right. And on this debut ‘demo’ EP, Deon demonstrates that he has made the right decision in doing so. Indeed, the S-ROCK scene has been made richer as a result.
It’s interesting that Deon has labelled Letters as a ‘demo’ release – perhaps to scale down expectations somewhat (?) – cos to these ears, Letters can be easily considered a ‘proper’ EP release (whatever that means). So please don’t let that self-effacing manner fool you, Letters is a well produced, well performed and well written debut.
Since discovering he actually could sing (according to Deon, whilst studying in Berklee College of Music), it’s obvious that Deon has taken his new vocation (as a singer-songwriter) seriously and has applied his skill and talents in the crafting of these four tracks (five, plus the ‘hidden’ track, Higher). Simply put, Deon’s songwriting is of the pleasing commercial variety with strong references to the British soft-rock of Travis, Coldplay and Keane – in other words, radio-friendly alternative rock. There is a good balance between faux-classical piano dynamics and acoustic guitar ambience that certainly is reminiscent of Chris Martin’s songwriting choices.
All told, Letters is an excellent debut – although probably more variation in styles might have expanded the palette a little. But taken as a first effort, Letters is ample evidence of Deon’s potential as a singer-songwriter of note.
You can listen/download the EP below.
Deon will be performing his original songs at the Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme at Timbre @ Substation on Wed, 23rd March, together with Saiful (of the Great Spy Experiement) and yours truly. Don’t miss it!