Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

MF Tomlinson faces his own weathered reflection on We Are Still Wild Horses

"We Are Still Wild Horses"

Release date: 17 February 2023
MF Tomlinson - We Are Still Wild Horses cover
24 February 2023, 09:00 Written by Alisdair Grice

“These songs, I just write them \ Don’t care if you like them” Tomlinson posits nine minutes into the vast, 21-minute final track of his second album, We Are Still Wild Horses.

This lucid, self-deprecating inclination captures the essence of Tomlinson’s work to date; a deeply introspective songwriter, his musings about the human experience are universal in appeal, yet often far more haunting than we are prepared to express ourselves.

Written in “the darkest months of winter”, We Are Still Wild Horses is Tomlinson’s most insular work to date. Using his hardened baritone as a cornerstone to steady the record, he explores his own isolation and subsequent desolation over the space of a few months of loneliness and does so with striking potency.

Inspired heavily by the sounds born from the ‘60s, a renaissance of acid-folk, psychedelia and art rock can be found throughout the record. Bob Dylan meets Yes on “End Of The Road”, a crooning ode to London’s Trafalgar Square, and its significance as a place of protest, especially during London lockdowns. We join Tomlinson in a queasy dream state that erupts into cacophonous horns as mumbles of “the end of the road” fades into nearly nothing.

“A Cloud” reinforces this liminal state, as Tomlinson articulates “I see myself floating over there”, acting as a conduit for the emotions of the clouds he spots out his windows, amongst other observations of “good old boys” listening to reggaeton. His prominent baritone continues to carve out stories in “Winter Time Blues”, bringing home his state of isolation. The intro feels like an outro, with blaring horn movements climbing over ornate orchestrals, there’s a blur between minor and major keys, with it sometimes being entirely unclear what key he is in at all.

However, after this exploratory tenure of heady psych-folk, We Are All Wild Horses culminates in the Homeric titular track “We Are Still Wild Horses”. A stark, brazen and deeply magical undertaking by the exploratory artist, the track utilises the springy double bass action of collaborator Ben Manning with freeform pseudo-jazz drumming to simulate a feeling of constant movement, occasionally pulling the brakes or tapping the throttle but never coming to a complete standstill. Lounge piano soon makes room for arpeggiating synth runs, culminating in an extravagant finale of noise.

We travel so intimately with Tomlinson throughout each of these vignettes, that come the dwindling minutes of the final track, we do not want to depart from our sole companion but instead keep on trekking diligently through the unknown. Tomlinson is many things; a wordsmith, a commanding vocal presence, and a conductor of light and dark. But at his core, he is a deeply talented songwriter that can conjure emotion via the slightest movement, utilising momentum, rage, desolation and hope to construct a truly heroic story of self-discovery.

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