Tom Hogan’s ‘Or The Whale’ is an intimate, yet expansive collection

On his new EP, Or The Whale, Tom Hogan traverses country, blues, and folk in an intimate collection of powerful musical tales.

Strangely enough, when Tom Hogan read Moby Dick in lockdown, his response wasn’t to vent his feelings in a book club. Instead, he committed songs to record. The result is his new EP, Or The Whale. 

A musical polymath, his tastes and talents have led him on many an adventure. This time, he’s tapping into a rich vein of rock ‘n’ roll, which has been coloured with hues of folk, country, and blues — with one or two surprises along the way.

Tom Hogan

One of the biggest left turns is courtesy of a vocoder that makes its presence known in the first track, True Enough. The song’s bones are recognisable enough, with its blues-based harmony and rollicking shuffle groove — but this is one of the pleasures of Tom Hogan: the juxtaposition of the familiar and the strange.

The party continues with A Night In A Hotel — a retro waltz that harkens back to the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll, only to explode in the chorus. Things take a turn for the contemplative in the EP’s instrumental interlude Footfall, before returning to the lyrical path with the sea shanty-inspired The Stove Boat Song. 

Hogan’s baritone anchors Or The Whale’s closing moments — the ambient folk of Darling I Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye precedes the glacial Melville Lane.

So even though Or The Whale draws on a narrow palette of sounds, Hogan’s skill and spirit of adventure transcend all the genres that it references.

Or The Whale is out now. Dive into it below: