New York City’s Tomás Doncker has forged a career in music that’s lasted over thirty years and running, making a name for himself as both a renowned bluesman and a pioneer of the No Wave scene in the late ‘70s. With a resume that includes working alongside Madonna, Yoko Ono and Bill Laswell, Doncker has directed his efforts towards solo work as of late; his most recent venture is eight-track album The Mess We Made.
Lead single ‘The Church is Burning Down’ was a passion and pain fuelled discourse on hate-crime and the racism still alive and well in the world today; The Mess We Made continues this streak of taking an honest look at society. The album reads as a political statement over the course of its eight tracks, and profoundly so. Opening track ‘Some Ol Dolls’ is a slinky, funkified number on which Doncker takes no time in getting straight to the cold hard truths. With lines like “Feel like I’m about to bust/I don’t believe ‘In God We Trust’” and “Prison makes it hard to forget that being brown is like being a moving target/I feel the sniper eye on me, is this what it means to be free?”, Doncker questions the proud nation of America and its underlying sense of hypocrisy.
This sentiment unfolds in different ways throughout the album. ‘The Revolution’ opens with the line: “I’m calling bullshit, while the revolution’s looking for corporate sponsorship”. Musically, the track is one of the catchiest on the album, grooving infectiously with a section of boppy horns and funky guitars that make it impossible not to tap your foot along. Arriving late in the album is a cover of U2's famous ‘Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’. Doncker’s raw, buttery smooth vocals give the song a fresh perspective and an air of authenticity; the version takes a more down to earth direction than the original and succeeds all the more for it.
The Mess We Made is a powerful album that exudes Tomás Doncker’s undeniable love of his craft alongside his impassioned stance against injustice.