20 Jul 2024

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Thomas Powers - Album Review: A Tyrant Crying In Private

01 Jun 2024 // A review by Cathy Elizabeth

This stunning 14-track debut solo album from Thomas Powers, of The Naked and Famous fame; A Tyrant Crying in Private is intense yet delicate, holding sadness and beauty in equal measure, deliciously gorgeous in all its glitched and distorted goodness.

Parts of the album feel very heavy emotionally, particularly the neo-classical instrumental pieces, which have a vast cinematic effect. My first thought upon listening to the opening track Little Lungs (Featuring Rob Moose) was “Wow, this sounds like a movie score!” And that thought was only intensified as the album progressed.

The lyrical content is intelligent and self-reflective. But I think it’s the instrumental pieces that say the most with no lyrics at all, at times seeming to carry the weight of all of humanity upon them. The instrumental interludes only become sadder and more utterly bereft as we get deeper into the album, until all seems completely lost in Sensible Anomie, which feels like the observation of the fall of humanity, somehow.

I like how the song titles often feature in the lyrics of other songs on the album, which has the effect of tying them all together. This, along with recurring musical motifs, makes it feel like a concept album of sorts; the concept being the inner workings and emotional journey of the artist. A “what’s under the hood” of Thomas Powers, if you will, who describes the album as his most authentic work to date.

Producing a solo album provided the opportunity for pure self-expression; art for art’s sake. Powers states "I don't care who listens to it, I really don't, I'm just grateful for any audience whatsoever." And we can expect subsequent work from Powers to follow along this vane, as he states that this is a starting point and a way forward for him.

Music is an excellent vehicle for self-expression, and it can be manipulated in many different ways to express concepts and ideas. Powers has used production techniques like glitching and crunching the words that he perhaps does not like to admit. Preston is a great example of this. “You looked it up, the air quality. And my constant state of … apology” and how the track opens up and soars with longing on the line “but I … wanna love you” in such a way it gives me chills. It literally sounds like a heart bursting open with love and longing at that point.

Empty Voices (Featuring Julien Baker) – described by NZ Music Month as “Fragile yet potent” is driven by deep rolling synthesized bass, with layers of glitched up vocals creating a rhythmic symphony, which is very enchanting.

Rogue Waves is a gorgeous string ensemble piece, floating with heaviness upon an ocean of uncertainty, which stops rather abruptly, like being snapped out of a daydream. This is followed closely by The Big Feel (Featuring Chelsea Jade) with the two songs connected both lyrically and musically; “First it’s a black hole, then it’s a rogue wave, it’s always something.”

This is an album full of juxtaposition, as even the title suggests: A Tyrant Crying in Private – the paradox between being a headstrong and ruthless leader, while at the same time suffering from self-doubt and regret behind closed doors.

The beauty in the sadness, I believe, is the healing that is found there; in sitting with it, in expressing it. A Tyrant Crying In Private is a skilfully crafted, intensely soothing, modern-classical body of work. I encourage you to check it out.


About Thomas Powers

New Zealand singer, songwriter, and producer Thomas Powers sets himself apart. Stepping out from under the chart-topping success of his indie electronic band, The Naked & Famous, Powers has cultivated a subtle yet cinematic new sound, radically different in mood and intention.

His first single, Li features fellow New Zealander Chelsea Jade and strings arrangements from Rob Moose - both reappearing throughout his debut album.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Thomas Powers


A Tyrant Crying In Private
Year: 2024
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Cathy Elizabeth

Ha the Unclear - Album Review: A Kingdom In A Cul-De-Sac
25 Apr 2024 // by Cathy Elizabeth
If I could choose one word to sum up Ha The Unclear’s recent album release I would have to go with the word “inspiring”. And if I could throw a few more together in a kind of haphazard stream-of-consciousness way, I would add that A Kingdom In A Cul-De-Sac is oozing with creativity, quirky humour, plumbing the depths of musical understanding, and coming back up to the surface with a gift - permission to be one’s authentic self.
SNRXG - EP Review: True Story
06 Nov 2023 // by Cathy Elizabeth
Huntly born and raised artist SNRXG keeps the quality tracks coming with this 6-track EP True Story. Collaborating with top-notch local talent, the production on all of these tracks is mint.
Phorrest - EP Review: On My Way
19 Sep 2023 // by Cathy Elizabeth
Tuning into the new EP from Auckland hip hop artist Phorrest, the intro track does well to set the scene for the rest of the EP. But wait, why is the title track of the EP in brackets and labeled Intro (On My Way!
day13n - Single Review: PA1N x SAG3
11 Jul 2023 // by Cathy Elizabeth
Listening to Day13n’s new single PA1N x SAG3 is the stuff of nightmares, with a dark and edgy musicality underpinning the intensely whisper-screamed lyrics. The song is divided into two halves, which nicely illustrates the forces of duality that are at play in the mind of the artist.
Will McClean - Single Review: Seem Alright
21 Jun 2023 // by Cathy Elizabeth
This week Will McClean releases Seem Alright, the second track from his upcoming album Don’t Forget To Breathe, alongside an accompanying video clip. Seem Alright is a punchy upbeat jazz-funk hip-hop track that has been nicely arranged, with a dash of clarinet, strings, and a sampled jazz vocal for the chorus.
Jaqualyn Taimana Williams - EP Review: Guns of Dialogue
20 Jun 2023 // by Cathy Elizabeth
Successful children’s music creator Jaqualyn Taimana Williams has recently released a 5-track EP called Guns of Dialogue to follow up her 2019 multi-genre album Statues of Liberty. Guns of Dialogue has a great rock vibe overall, with a fusion of various other elements woven throughout its tracks.
Gig Review: Mel Parsons @ Meow, Wellington - 28/05/2023
30 May 2023 // by Cathy Elizabeth
It’s been a good while since I’ve been to a gig at Meow, Wellington, so the first thing I do is weave my way through the growing crowd to get a good look at the size and layout of the stage. It’s nicely raised and fairly spacious, more spacious than I remembered actually!
Dillastrate - Single Review: I'm Crazy
22 May 2023 // by Cathy Elizabeth
Dillastrate, the powerhouse duo from down Christchurch ways, have released another fantastic single that is sure to get you moving and grooving. I’m Crazy dropped at the start of May Music Month and is already making waves and amassing plays, demonstrating that it's been well-received by their fans.
View All Articles By Cathy Elizabeth
SELECT artists.ID as artist_id, artists.Name, sum(artists_stats.Count) as hitcount FROM artists, artists_stats WHERE artists_stats.Date > ('2024-07-19' - INTERVAL 14 DAY)-0 AND artists.ID = artists_stats.AID AND artists.Enabled = 'y' AND artists.Deleted = 'n' GROUP BY artists_stats.AID ORDER BY hitcount DESC, Name LIMIT 10

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Kendrick Lamar
    Billie Eilish
    Tommy Richman
    Sabrina Carpenter
    Sabrina Carpenter
    Teddy Swims
    Chappell Roan
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem