Tomi Thomas gives a good account on Hopeless Romantic EP – Emmanuel Daraloye

Tomi Thomas is back.

He might say that he never left in the first place but industry watchers know better. The artist who began with the boy band Loud On Sound (LOS) in the 2010s began his solo journey with the release of his experimental album Patience in 2014, closely followed by Black Couch Vol 1 in 2016. In 2018, he, alongside music producer Leriq, released Illusion, the six-track EP centred on love and lust.

Tomi Thomas was in United Arab Emirate (UAE) for his university education. He also opened a restaurant in Lagos around this time. This may be the reason for his fewer individual releases in recent years, even though he continued to appear on records of top-tier colleagues like MI Abaga, Show Dem Camp, Lady Donli and GMK.

Finally, fans have something personal from TT (as he is fondly called). An observation from his previously released projects is that TT always pushed boundaries of experimentation even though dancehall/reggae is his forte.

In August 2020, Tomi Thomas released the lead single for this project. Titled ‘Hopeless Romantic’, it asserts his artistry. Enough of sleeping on me, he seems to say. With an accompanying crisp video, the ball seemed set for Tomi Thomas’s phased return.

On the six tracks titled Hopeless Romantic, a mature Tomi Thomas is on the microphone backed by guitar rhythms and heavy percussion. While it was difficult to box him a few years back, on this EP, he reined his experimentation and stuck with his expertise, reggae/dancehall with a hint of afropop.

The nearly 20 minute album begins with a quasi spoken word rendition by TT on ‘Love Me Now’ accompanied by guitar flourishes parsed with muted drums and an errant bass line. This track sets the ball rolling that this is about romantic love pining for reciprocal gestures.

The eponymous Hopeless Romantic follows with similar themes, heavy drums and kicks to which TT glided his vocal delivery. The guitar outro was the icing on the cake of this song about self acclamation.

‘Gogo Dancer’ and ‘Again’ are breezy tracks to balance the tempo of this EP. The former is a slow and erotic while the latter demands dance with a stripper going down. The guitar work is lush serving the minimal but adequate lyric.

‘Waiting’ might have borrowed the bassline of Vector’s breakthrough hit ‘Early Momo’, but this is where the similarity stops. Tomi Thomas recruits endearing words in serenading the lady interest, but there seems to be some struggle.

Grammy award winning Buju Banton features on the dancehall ‘Hurricane’, Tomi Thomas explicitly uses metaphors, wordplay and unrelenting tempo to win the girl over.

On Hopeless Romantic, Tomi Thomas shows evolution evident in his sonic range and lyrical prowess. While the track listing underserves his storytelling, this blip can be forgiven with the hope he makes good on subsequent releases.

Welcome back, Tomi Thomas.

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