Toebow has made a magical carpet ride you can listen to with their newest record Themes. This is an experience you shouldn’t miss.
I have a soft spot for psychedelic pop. The lush, yet adventurous soundscapes of psychedelic music compliment the mellow pop elements so well. No one embodies psychedelic pop quite like Toebow, who, with their 2019 effort Themes, constructed a wild experience that tamed itself through the use of multiple effects and soothing vocal harmonies. Pair that with some dynamic upbeat drumming and you have an excellent recipe for some relaxed moments with magical music.
Let’s start our journey with “Key Song”, a poppy, upbeat track full of warm modulation and liquid textures. While the chorus of the guitar occasionally shimmers through the cloudy atmosphere, the thick, creamy synths dominate the scene with their warm, lush embrace. Male and female vocals seem to be in constant chatter with one another as they constantly respond to each other, although sometimes only with a cheeky ‘Oh la la la’. On the other hand, the lyrics seem quite melancholic and talk about a toxic relationship the singer seemingly just got out off. This stark contrast between the happy-go-lucky beat of the instrumentation and the depressed yet weirdly happy singing is what makes this song very memorable. Of course, even the darkest lyrics can’t take away from a nice, little guitar solo, twinkling at the listener until the song fades out.
At no point in this track was there a steep climax or a moment of tenseness. You just feel satisfied with the Zen atmosphere and mellow, contempt tone the song seems to radiate. It’s a special kind of music meant to not give you a taste of one emotion but many emotions life’s duality throws at you.
Next, we move to something even happier, a track you could almost call euphoric, “Something Optimistic”. With a synth pad that stutters away constantly like a choir in a tremolo pedal, the track immediately sets an angelic and motivating attitude. What motivation do you ask? The motivation to just enjoy the little things you’re doing, like sitting on your porch with something cold to drink in the Summer. Soon the guitar comes in playing pentatonic lead lines with just enough distortion to make it squeal and push out only the sweetest of overtones. Although this track is rather minimalistic with nothing much moving forward, it fits into the band’s theme of giving you a multitude of emotions to digest. Is it minimalistic because it’s supposed to sound relaxed? Or euphoric because it sounds so overtly happy? Why not both?
Now onto “Burned Bread”. No, I didn’t burn the breakfast…again. I’m talking about one of the most thoughtful and spacey songs on the album. Textures are thrown around continuously, while the extremely spacey instrumentation sounds like Tame Impala going full country. While this snoozing storm of howls around the background of the track, the vocals give us an insight into the thoughts of the person now despising another person they once held dear.
Toebow have not only crafted an immensely relaxing and beautiful record with Themes but also one that has intricate little details thrown into its writing at every corner. You can try to be aware of them all and maybe discover a sound you’ve never heard, or just drift in the magic dust the band exhales. A wonderful piece of very enjoyable music by Toebow.