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Why do we assume we know what a ‘ghostly’ sound is? I happen to believe ghosts are capable of all manner of noise, melody and rhythm, and I suspect the Tom Fun Orchestra does too. On its second album, Earthworm Heart, the Cape Breton roots-rock troupe is gruff and galloping, with horns, banjos and whatever. Ghosts are believed in – some dead, some alive, but all needing to find their way home.

Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail (Canada), November 2012

As much as the band has perfected its personal brand of booze-soaked, kitchen-party-in-the-middle-of-the-woods Maritime rock, there are more than danceable tunes on Earthworm Heart…this cozy new album features the same revelry of horns, banjo, danceable drums, speakeasy piano and the gravelly vocals…that fans have come to expect, but with a growth and maturity that results in a taut and tender album.

Whitney Moran, The Coast (Canada), October 2012

Earthworm Heart is a rock record like no other. Which is probably not surprising considering that its creator, the Tom Fun Orchestra, is a band like no other…a sprawling collective featuring a wide array of instruments, both acoustic and electric, modern and traditional.

Alex J. MacPherson, Verb (Canada), November 2012

Earthworm Heart is an album pieced together with an undeniable level of skill. It offers an excellent blend of songs, from the title track, which features strong vocals and a unique sound, to the very upbeat ‘Sunshine on my Bones’. The sound definitely works.

Olivia Robinson, thecadre.ca (Canada), November 2012

…Cape Breton's The Tom Fun Orchestra hit the stage…with instruments ranging from accordion and banjo and horns, for a rich and lush eclectic mish-mash folk, roots, blues, rock and punk. The term ‘force of nature’ may be a cliché when describing music and bands, but it definitely applies to The Tom Fun Orchestra.

Kirk Hamilton, 3amrevelations.blogspot.ca (Canada), November 2012

Admittedly, as I wrote this review, I found myself wiggling around in my chair as I typed, most notably to track nine, ‘Animal Mask’, a great song. Earthworm Heart is a fun album worth checking out.

Patrick Hallihan, nexusnewspaper.com (Canada), November 2012

…the Tom Fun Orchestra filled the stage with seven members and seven instruments including banjo, accordion, and trumpet along with the customary drums, bass, electric, and acoustic guitars. (They) played with such ferocity and passion that soon many were up on their feet dancing as though it wasn’t a Monday.

Maggie Kogut, themeliorist.ca (Canada), November 2012

These 14 songs are packed so full of tracks they truck along with all the power of a freight train, well-conducted by the raspy, emotive, and Waits-ian voice of Ian MacDougall. Singer/guitarist Breagh Potter’s voice pierces these songs at all the right places, and their vocals swirl together swimmingly well. It’s an immediately engaging, very accomplished, highly likeable 14-song sensation. Nothing less. Virtually every song on here is a genre-blending symphony of awesome. Great lyrics, heart, and bandsmanship. Easily an album of the year.

Chad Pelley, somethingdaily.com (Canada), December 2012

Fourteen songs rich with instrumentation and style, The Tom Fun Orchestra have produced a very solid sophomore record.

Laura Stanley, grayowlpoint.com (Canada), December 2012

 

At 15 minutes to midnight I head to a small stage to see Tom Fun Orchestra again. Inexplicably, there are only 30 people there and somehow among them are all my friends. The band pumps out the sort of gypsy jazz funk punk rock that you only hear at festivals and is always made by men with perfect moustaches. At midnight, everyone hugs and invades the stage. We start 2011 with a screaming, howling, stomp.

Christian Brimo, Liveguide (Australia), January 2011

I’m not usually one for this sort of music, Gogol Bordello being the exception, but the TFO are really reaching out and grabbing me, pushing a glass of cheap red wine into my hand (it’s bottomless…) and making me dance.

Samuel J. Fell, Inpress (Melbourne, Australia), January 2011

Ultimately there’s no pigeon hole wide enough within which to fit Tom Fun Orchestra. You Will Land With A Thud is, like the band’s name suggests, a whole lot of fun, with enough twists and turns to keep your feet tapping and the spirits – human and distilled – flowing.

Beat Magazine (Melbourne, Australia), January 2011

You Will Land With a Thud is a definite unsung hero of an album. The Tom Fun Orchestra has put together a great collection of music that will have you hooked in seconds. For anyone that likes good music, you will like this album. It will leave you trying to figure out what it is you just heard but you’ll be doing so with a smile on your face.

Anthony Hess, Music Feeds (NSW, Australia), January 2011

It didn't take long for the Orchestra to start wracking up rave reviews for its knock-'em-dead live show on the East Coast. As the band got tighter, it began to generate some serious buzz among music fans and rock scribes in other parts of the country, all of whom were echoing the same resounding sentiment: "You have to see these guys."

Jen Zoratti, Uptown Magazine, 2009

Tom Fun Orchestra, another big-by-most-standards band, had a hard time stealing the night from the earlier bombast; but with a collection of unbelievably catchy songs and an unbelievably loud and tight band playing them, they did.

Sam Sutherland, Exclaim.ca, 2009

The second encore showcased the band playing the snot out of all of their respective instruments and jumping around the stage, falling all over each other and generally creating merry chaos all over that Horseshoe stage. ...I was exhausted by the end of the show but, needless to say, this is not a show that I'll be forgetting anytime soon.

Bobby B, It’s Not the Band I Hate It’s Their Fans, 2009

But as band’s go, Canadian nine-piece Tom Fun Orchestra couldn’t be beaten, closing both Friday and Saturday night with a bang.Their organised chaos like Les Negresses Vertes crossed with the Levellers, backed up by the Pogues. Worth every penny of their colossal plane fare, I’m sure.

John Cleere, Maverick Magazine (UK), May 2008

Definitely one of the most interesting albums to come from the East Coast or anywhere else in Canada.

Bryan Borzykowski, NOW Magazine, March 2008

Oh, there’s furious folk-rock festivity to be had with the raucous, redemptive barnstormers herein. But then there’s the lyric sheet, by way of frontman Ian MacDougall’s gravelly growl, a white-knuckled fistful of hard-knock hymns and tales of woe to make you go “whoa!”

Rupert Bottenberg, Montreal Mirror, February 2008

This nine-piece ball of energy put on an unbelievable set of pure joy, somewhat like a Maritimes version of the Hidden Cameras fronted by the lead singer of the Misfits.They were the singular band that captured the spirit and passion of the event, and in turn the spirit and passion of Nova Scotia's deep music roots.

Grant Lawrence, CBC Radio 3, November 2007