Artist: Tomás Doncker
Album: The Mess We Made
Label: True Groove
Release Date: 12/8/2016
Having sprung from New York’s No Wave movement that swept downtown in the ’70s and ’80s, Tomás Doncker cut his teeth as a guitarist with genre-bending acts such as Defunkt and James Chance & the Contortions. Since then, Doncker regularly worked with iconic artists like Bonnie Raitt, Ivan Neville and Living Colour singer, Corey Glover. Most recently, he released his latest solo record, The Mess We Made, a politically and racially charged album created as a response to last year’s devastating shooting in Charleston, S.C.
Doncker’s latest is an emotional one, the result of an artist with a message who’s tired of witnessing society’s perpetual injustices. In “Church is Burning Down,” an alternative-R&B cut that’s as frantic as it is direct with purpose, he laments, “I am a sinner, just like you, abandoned by a state of grace…so damn sick and tired of being sick and tired.” It’s a powerful track that aims the spotlight on the state of our regrettable, hate-filled society.
Doncker shifts gears throughout the record from his alt-R&B vibe to funk and later blues, dipping his toes into the experimental stylings he came up in. Playing guitar, bass and keyboards on the record, he hands over the production reigns to James Dellatacoma, freeing him up to focus on the tracks and lose himself in his art.
On the album’s final bow, “Time Will Tell,” Doncker sings: “We have a choice to care for each other, raise our voices to the sky, no need to ask why. The time is now.” As he helps raise awareness of the social destruction and inequality our nation suffers from, the question remains: What are we going to do with this mess we made?