I start this collection of words that will attempt to justify music but fail miserably with a preface: toe are whatever you want them to be. If you consider them ‘math rock’ great, if you don’t, that’s fine too. But more than most bands toe seem to be subject to online quarrels to determine their shoebox, these are often unprovoked spats at that. To quote 65daysofstatic‘s Joe Shrewsberry:
“…if you’re angry about the definition of the genre of math rock, and whether something is or isn’t, then you need to take a serious look at your life and put that energy into something else, because it doesn’t matter.” – Echoes & Dust (http://echoesanddust.com/2015/06/interview-joe-shrewsbury-from-65daysofstatic)
With that in mind let’s proceed. toe’s latest release had been anticipated with much salivating by fans and there are very few bands that can get me to listen to shitty video clips from the studio on repeat like this one, which became ‘A Desert Of Human’. It’s early days but I can tell this is going to be on constant rotation for quite a while. The whole album washes over you in a delicate and subtle way, it’s payoffs are not in fantastic moments of control-chaos drumming or brash guitar work but in the production and unusual tracks such as ‘Time Goes’ and ‘オトトタイミングキミト’.
Hear You sits somewhere between the guitar focused debut The Book About My Idol Plot On A Vague Anxiety and the vocal and instrument experimentation of For Long Tomorrow, both of which the band have taken to further extremes on this latest release. The use of tablas on ‘G.O.O.D L.U.C.K’, the soft soul styling of ‘Song Silly’, the hip-hop track ‘Time Goes’ come together with more guitar based numbers to show a diversity of musical tastes often lacking with bands in our niche.
As toe’s popularity has risen in the last six years so has the number of bands trying to ape their style, yet so few can master toe’s mix of post-hardcore, jazz/math and pop to create songs that can be subtly beautiful and fascinating yet accessible even to non-musos as is attested by their worldwide fanbase.