Tom Verlaine: Warm and Cool (2024 Vinyl Reissue) (Real Gone) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, July 21st, 2024  

Tom Verlaine

Warm and Cool (2024 Vinyl Reissue)

Real Gone

Jun 24, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Tom Verlaine’s solo album, Warm and Cool, was released in 1992. The year between Nirvana’s Nevermind and In Utero. The year Verlaine’s own band, the groundbreaking Television released its own self-titled album, the band newly reformed after its own late ‘70s heyday. Warm and Cool was an all-instrumental album, focused on soft tones and ethereal soundscapes. It was lost or overlooked at the time, largely as it was juxtaposed with the phenomena mentioned above. The album’s new vinyl reissue primes it for re-exploration.

As elucidated in the liner note essay by Verlaine’s partner at the time, artist Jutta Koethner (who also took the enchanting photo that graces the album’s cover), Warm and Cool was recorded largely in two June sessions in 1992, the compositions “almost improvised,” and features producer Patric A. Derivaz on bass and Verlaine’s Television bandmate Billy Ficca on drums. And from the slow prolonged guitar tones of its opener “Those Harbor Lights,” Warm and Cool sets a specific tone, and one contrary to the times.

The album has been remixed for vinyl, and the sound is spectacular, highlighting Verlaine’s instrumentation.

“Sleepwalkin’” finds Verlaine’s guitar loping along in the shadows, disappearing and reemerging as if from a darkened street corner in and out of the glow of a lamppost. “The Deep Dark Clouds” is three minutes of improvisational whine. “Saucer Crash” feels purposefully restrained, the bass and guitar threatening to overwhelm with a tension that always just bubbles under the surface. “Boulevard,” the penultimate track on side 1, finds Verlaine taking a break from the heaviness with a guitar line that can simply be described as jaunty and almost playful.

On side 2, “Spiritual” is exactly that, a blissful guitar meditation. “Little Dance” is also fairly on the nose, with a jumpy rhythm and trotting gait. “Ore” is avant garde, arhythmic, and noodly. And “Lore” closes the album with more than six and a half minutes of further guitar experimentation and improvisation, Verlaine getting as close as he has all album to unleashing, a culminating six string fire.

In retrospect, and taken out of the context of the year in which it was released, Warm and Cool can be redefined. It no longer has to be overlooked in the Tom Verlaine catalog. It can be celebrated for what it is, a wonderful moody and mesmerizing instrumental guitar album that although spectacularly out of place in 1992, can finally be reevaluated and reassessed through different eyes. And don’t all artists deserve just that? (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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