Ordinarily Kiwis move to Australia and we claim them as our own. Rarely do we lose Australian talents to the nation “across the ditch,” but that’s the case with Aussie-born New Zealand-based musician Thomas Oliver. He might not call Australia home any more, but he’s making music so special I think he still deserves a place on Sounds of Oz. His album “Floating in the Darkness” has just dropped, and it’s a real stunner.

He drew me in with the first song “Tenderly.” Its immediately accessible with a laidback, sexy groove. The sensual sounds continue with “Shine Like the Sun,” an intimate song that totally charmed me. I also fell for “Budapest is Beautiful,” a delicate track about appreciating a new city but feeling wistful because you’re not there with a loved one.

Thomas is an artist who shines in quiet moments. Songs like “Losin’” and the closer, “Tell Me Something New” are stripped back, with just an acoustic guitar and a voice, but they are some of the most powerful tracks on the album.

Floating in the Darkness gets you in with soulful hooks but settles into a gentler place. Some people might relegate it to background music, but it’s an album worth staying engaged with. Thomas Oliver has such a wonderful sound, from his husky low tones to his killer falsetto. He reminds me musically of a few artists I really admire, Ben Harper and Amos Lee. Floating in the Darkness might be a slow burn for some music lovers, but I think it’s a pretty special release.

See Thomas Oliver promoting Floating in the Darkness at the following shows.

7 June 2017 – The Grace Emily, Adelaide
9 June 2017 – The Milk Factory, Brisbane
10 June 2017 – Wesley Anne, Melbourne
11 June 2017 – Leadbelly, Sydney
Thursday 15 June – Babushka, Leederville WA