Album Review: Toundra – IV

Post-Rock as a genre has always been about the journey, the moulding together of light and dark to create something whole-heartedly beautiful but also poignant and if it calls for it, challenging, which is something that takes a lot to get right. Saying that, Madrid’s Toundra have been churning out the good stuff since 2008 and with their 4th full length ‘IV’ they are looking to continue their trend of hitting the genre bang on the head.

First and foremost ‘IV’ is a concept record, telling the story of two foxes looking to escape their forest home as a fire grows and eventually destroys it. Being an instrumental release, the imagery used to conjure up this concept is down to the listener. The band supplies the colours, but the result on the canvas is unique to how the audience perceives it. Beneath the jolting and differing emotions found across the album, delicate scratches and slight animal noises just about keep this idea on track. A bold move indeed, that mixed with the record’s hefty running time will possibly fly over the heads of many. Either way it is a testament to what and where the band wishes to explore with their music and how deep and dark they are willing to tread.

Behind the concepts though, the layers the band thread together are richly dense and refreshingly varied. ‘Qarqom’ builds from a tight riff fueled pattering to an all out wall of noise, before ‘Lluvia’ takes thing down a notch with distorting ambience, sinister feedback and delicate keys. An incredible array of talent is pumped into the 52 minutes of ‘IV’ that conjure every feeling from pride and relief all the way through to vulnerability and heartache. A symphony conducted by four men with beards if you will. ‘Viesca’ shows off a bare roots approach with folky guitars, heartbreaking strings and triumphant brass before ‘Kitsune’ deals out a downtrodden pummeling and ‘Oro Rojo’ brings the whole performance to a suitably soul rousing finale.

The long and short of it is, ‘IV’ is a body of work made to be appreciated. It is designed to have time invested into it and to have feelings and emotions conjured from the deepest corners of your mind as reward. It exists to completely and utterly engross you to a point where you forget that it’s just music. Get your head around the story the band are trying to tell or not, ‘IV’ is so musically rich and vibrant it has the power to speak to anybody, not matter what life they lead. Toundra are proving why they are such a glistening jewel in the post-rock crown by continuing to deliver consistently beautiful, stirring music. Long may it remain.

4/5

‘IV by Toundra is released on 26th January on Superball Music.

Toundra links: Facebook| https://twitter.com/toundra| http://toundra.bandcamp.com/

Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)

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