Wallsend Weekend Television by Novelty Island

Release date: March 24, 2023
Label: Think Like a Key Music

How do you follow-up and album that has taken the quirky psychedelic-pop flavors with a pleasant sunny afternoon? You mix it up with adding the conceptual form of a TV channel as you use your remote to go the next channel on Wallsend Weekend Television. For Tom McConnell, he knew it was going to be the next step by seeing what people would watch on TV during the pandemic years.

Novelty Island’s second release was originally going to be Tom’s debut album. But he decided to put it on hold while he was working on How Are You Coping with This Century instead. For him to return with Wallsend, it’s been a long time coming for Tom to start the Novelty journey nearly five years ago when he went to the Abbey Road institute and played his songs and giving it a whole new life.

And I have to give Rosalie Cunningham credit for sharing one of his humouristic videos of ‘The Desperately Strange’ on her Facebook page on June 24 when the world came to a screeching halt during that time frame. From the moment I watched the video and hearing the music, I knew right there and then, that Tom has something up his sleeve. Not just something special, but having a card up his sleeve.


The new version of the song sees Tom returning to the sea shanty waltz with a burst of energy by revealing more details, and adding more structures by walking back into the psychedelia route with enough carousel organ sounds, sing-along songs in the pub, and paying nod to the Glam-era, the Doors, early Floyd, and the Nuggets II box set.

‘GoGo’ sees Tom entering the indie rock sound, tipping his hat to Belle & Sebastian’s The Life Pursuit-era. You can tell that Tom wrote the song as a sequel to ‘The Blues are Still Blue’, by adding that electrical jolt inside the train as it goes from London, to the pier in Brighton. ‘Turn to Me’ has a futuristic, yet acoustic peal.

Like looking through the crystal ball and unveiling what the 22nd century will be for you, there are elements of The Bee Gees’ ‘Run To Me’, Gilbert O’Sullivan, and adding that lukewarm organ section with an electro-pop texture for the sun to come up. When you hear ‘Sea Miner’ for example, Tom channels the French Synth-Pop duo Air, and their score to Sofia Coppola’s 1999 first full-length movie, The Virgin Suicides starring Kirsten Dunst.

Elsewhere, ‘Eureka, I Can See!’ evokes 10cc’s ‘Donna’ as Tom lifts the sound of Lol Crème’s vocal styles of the 50s doo-wop meets The Four Seasons meets ‘60s British Invasion sound at Strawberry Studios. But once ‘Bootlegs’ starts to ascend, you feel as if you’re inside a dream.

Almost like an ‘80s New Wave sound, it goes through a mellotronic lullaby, for those who enter Little Nemo’s Slumberland. And once you enter those doors in Nemo’s palace, you are free from the real world, and having your own true taste of paradise to be away from the chaos that occurred three years ago.

Wallsend Weekend Television is like a breath of fresh air, proving that McConnell can bring in more amazing ideas with mind-blowing results. And we get to tag along to be a part of that journey that awaits us.

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