By DOTTIE PARIS – Tomas Doncker hopes the world will change. He took his feelings of rage and sadness over the Charleston Church Massacre and put them into a new musical project The Mess We Made, and that investment is paying emotional dividends.
Doncker, known for his joyful and soulful music has come up with a new, “retro” sound that brings us back to the 1960s in a variety of ways.
Doncker is not afraid to speak his mind since the church burning. After all, hadn’t the U.S. and its people made some strides as far as integration and equal opportunity? Doncker doesn’t think so and he makes it plain through the songs on his new album.
But Doncker makes one thing incredibly clear: Because a song may have a serious tone, it doesn’t have to be slow and morose.
“Church Is Burning Down,” is an excellent example of a work that communicates effectively and also keeps the music upbeat. Maybe this is a style others should try.
Doncker’s music with a message is refreshing. The masses are tired of “boy loves girl,” or “girl breaks up with boy,” and are ready to receive Doncker’s important message. And that’s one of the best aspects of music — the listener can hear the songwriter’s opinion as much or as little as they want.
In the single “Revolution,” Doncker asks why “Brother to brother, man to man, why can’t we get together…” in a snappy beat, but he clearly shows disappointment that our culture has thrown away all the lessons of Martin Luther King and other leaders.
The title track “The Mess We Made” is a slow bluesy and heartfelt song about lost love and and fear. In the song he says he’s “gotta get my mind right” but his mind clearly seems right outside of the song’s obvious breakup situation.
In “Blood and Concrete,” Doncker takes a look at the injustice of the U.S. economic situation with the 1 percent ruling the country and police rustling up the other 99 percent. It’s a somber look at the way our world works today.
The tone of the entire album is reminiscent on some level of the 1970 song “Ball of Confusion,” by The Temptations. “Ball of Confusion” was among the first blendings of psychedelic soul with issue-oriented lyrics, and remarkably, the song received a lot of commercial radio airplay. “Ball of Confusion,” like Doncker’s latest work, also dealt with the problems of the world in a fast-paced and upbeat but serious tone. It worked then and it works now.
With The Mess We Made, Doncker has created an appealing work that is relevant to this age. In our era of not speaking out against injustice, genetically modified food and fracking, Doncker brings us a new voice that can be trusted. His words are real, his melodies are catchy and his message is clear.