Tom Tikka & the Missing Hubcaps drop (EP)


Tom Tikka spent a number of years playing with and sharing the songwriting chores in Finnish band Carmen Gray and experienced a measure of success, though the reality of the band’s success never matched their expectations. Tikka has moved on since Carmen Gray’s dissolution and his latest release with his band the Missing Hubcaps, a three song EP entitled Working Class Voodoo, is a glorious illustration of the musical and songwriting talents that first garnered him notice and continue growing exponentially. His musical journey began at six years when he first heard Paul Anka’s “Lonely Boy” and it continues with a solo EP release that we can be sure proved to be a satisfying experience for Tikka. 


You can tell it is for one key reason – the sound of these songs. Each of the EP’s three songs unfold with a mid-tempo pace but, despite their restraint, they have the inspired sound of a singer, songwriter, and musician focusing the full force of his creativity on bringing these tracks to life. It’s evident in the first track. “Working Class Voodoo” reshapes classic rock themes along personal lines with an individual turn of phrase and Tikka’s approach to the track with its emphasis on melody positions it for possible commercial success. The guitars have genuine rock and roll bite, but Tikka never pushes them so hard they overwhelm the tune. Tikka and the Missing Hubcaps, likewise, gain a lot from superior drumming over these three songs and the groove guiding “Working Class Voodoo” hinges, in a big way, on the percussion.

He shifts gears some with the second track “Daytime Suffering”. There’s, as the title implies, a stronger feeling of outright melancholy permeating the track. Tikka, once again, avoids bathing in emotion and, despite the straight forward nature of the track, shows off more of the understated songwriting finesse defining his career thus far. The song has a significant guitar presence, like its predecessor, but Tikka takes the same approach here as he does in the title track and doesn’t burden the track with shallow guitar heroics. Even the instrumental break in the song’s second half serves obvious musical ends. 

The ending track “What Is Love?” shows a little more of Tikka’s songwriting ambition. He isn’t afraid to grapple with big questions, even if the answers are relative or unknowable, and knows how to manipulate musical dynamics in such a way it elicits a response from the listener. The last track gains a lot from its careful pacing, a cinematic feel it might have lacked at a faster clip, and Tikka’s voice emphasizes the high emotional stakes involved in this performance without sounding unduly distressed. It’s an excellent way to bring this EP to an end. It won’t be the last word we hear from Tikka as a solo performer. He has to be mightily pleased with how well these three songs came out and eager to turn his hand to a longer, even more ambitious release. I think this EP scratches the surface, at best, of what he can and intends to do in the future.

Levi Colston

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