'Heat Lightning' is the first single released by Dutch psychedelic pop outfit Torii, taken from their upcoming album 'Return To Form' (out February 2020, on Mink Records).
Torii shrewdly borrows stylistics and bends them to its whims, like on the sweltering soul melodicism of ‘Heat Lightning’, which thrillingly accelerates into a motorik-indebted slipstream.
When you first listen to the psychedelic pop of Torii, the songs seem to deftly breeze by without a care in the world: warm, wistful and weightless. Multiple listens to the band’s debut LP Return To Form, however, reveal a stark antithesis of that snap judgment: each one of these eleven tracks was written, composed and recorded with painstaking, deliberate care. Founder Domenico Mangione transmutes troubled feelings of trauma, lonesomeness, and alienation into his intricate, spectral production values.
Torii started as a solo project that found Mangione demoing tracks in an abandoned school building. This rather desolate scenery, plus the screeching of the seagulls that terrorized the area, provided the perfect echo chamber for the Dutch musician & producer to find his definitive voice, at his desired pace. Now a steady five-piece ensemble – Mangione, multi-instrumentalist/producer Tijmen van Wageningen, guitarist/lap steel player Willem Oostendorp, keyboardist Jilles van Kleef, and drummer Olivier Schiphorst – Torii began using Mangione’s free-spirited recording methods as the root for fully-realized studio splendor, giving themselves ample time to blur the sharp frontiers in skill and philosophy. Each musician handled Return To Form’s makeup with kid gloves, harvesting wayward sounds in meticulous fashion.
The band’s crisp attention to detail – each drunken lap steel note, glistened vocal overdub or softly applied bass thrum – isn’t anything less than cathartic. Domenico: “We don’t want to be the umpteenth band that reacts to something and becomes mired in the whole guitar rock machismo. I feel people are generally too confined to their own self-image, rather than just making music.” By merit of Mangione’s deep investment in recording and composing songs, he was able to confront some of his greatest demons. While some music is made to channel hardships, Torii opts to enwrap it, nourish it, and fill up those cold barren voids with myriad colors, textures, and vegetation.
Congruently, Return To Form is the kind of singular pop record that treats dissonance and tunefulness as a calming symbiosis, and though the five musicians responsible have traveled radically different paths, they all met halfway within the album’s strange disembodied zone.
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- Alternative Pop