“Invisible Hand” from New York’s Tom Mullen is the first single from Mullen’s forthcoming album. Planned for early 2021, Mullen graces the listener early with this clever interpretation of the “invisible hand” economic theory. Many have described Mullen’s over 30-year career of music as similar to Elvis Costello, Fountains of Wayne or even Buddy Holly, “Invisible Hand” contains many elements rich in traditional rock and roll, as well as an element of 60s folk.
Mullen, the former lead singer and guitarist of the Buffalo, New York regional band, The Skeptics, enjoyed success with group in the 1990s on such gigs as opening for 10,000 Maniacs and The Tubes (“She’s A Beauty”). Mullen’s voice, similar in style to Costello, Uncle Kracker (“Follow Me”) and even Tom Petty, has an air of naturalness and content. He sounds very comfortable in his own shoes. That’s what we call the invisible hand, he sings in the chorus, with the groovy percussion rumbling underneath his words. Don’t believe there aint’ nothing for free, he sings. You can tell he really wants to convince his listeners that the way to go is the power of humanity, kindness is contagious. We help each other when we don’t mean to, Mullen sings. He conveys a great deal of emotion with his guitar playing, more so than his words and vocal delivery.
The guitar feels like the real star of “Invisible Hand” and his Holly-influenced guitar playing is almost tangible. The guitar jumps out of the song, in happy-go-lucky sort of way. I felt a wave of nostalgia over me listening to “Invisible Hand” and it’s more about the vibe and the freedom of the guitar (and rock and roll) that Mullen seems to be communicating in my listening experience. You can almost reach out and touch the guitar strings, the guitar pic chunky-like riffs are pristine. The bass backbeat is very subtle, and to be honest, it might just be the reverb in the guitar that I’m confusing that rhythm with. It really transported me to a Back to the Future moment (Johnny Be Good!). “Invisible Hand” is a toe-tapper.
Listen to Invisible Hand on Spotify. Tom Mullen · Single · 2020 · 1 songs.
I also felt a bit more interested in the economics and Wall Street after listening to Mullen’s words. I can’t call myself an expert in business by any stretch of the means, but he’s inspired me to do some further reading on the subject of free markets and what exactly the American society can do to sustain itself. I never imagined this when the song came across my inbox, but here we are. Unlike anything else I’ve heard in 2020, “Invisible Hand” is hands down one of the most unique.
Now residing in Western New York, Mullen’s last album, Unfamiliar Ground, came out in 2018. He’s been keeping himself busy with writing books like Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America. Mullen graduated from Canisius College, and later earned a Master’s Degree in English from Buffalo State College.
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