So this week I want to tell ya'll about a record by one of my personal favorite Texas Bands: TOMA from Austin. The band's lineup is Keys, Drums, Bass, and Guitar with multiple members who sing.
Their EP, which came out in March of 2015, has only seven songs, but each of them is a complete Powerhouse.
The First Song, "Fearing" is an Am rocker with Solos and Vocal harmonies all over the place. Parts of it sound very Surf. Parts of it almost Classical. The First solo (Keys) reminds me of Del Shannon's "Runaway" or "Hats Off to Larry", The second sound like it could be a quote from Toccata and Fuege. The Third Is a guitar solo with huge raunchy bends and fuzzy slides over a wash of Organ Chords. This is a Jam.
The Second song, "Maritime" sounds as chill and underwater as you might think, with smooth, fluid Guitar finger style and bendy lead running basically un-interrupted from beginning to end over a wash of ride cymbals and Organ sounds with modulating reverb. The Chorus is interesting, and very modern sounding in that the chorus is a call an response between guitar and vocal where the guitar is the call and vocal is the answer.
"Live Forever", The next song is the fist spot on the album where we start to hear more conventional Piano key and guitar chord sounds. The Vocal melody is doing most of the heavy listing on this one, including some weird key change and "borrowed chord" notes in the Chorus. The whole thing has some sweet chord changes; They're good cause they're unusual and different, but still tied together nice by the melody.
"Heartstrings" this is Probably the bands most popular song. It opens with Bass enigmatically sliding into an E over and over. Next the Guitar comes in with a riff based on an E arpeggio and some slap-back delay. The Keys and Drums come in together on a Pickup, and after a few statements, the guitar and keys drop out. The first Verse is sung by only one singer over just bass and drums at first, with the instruments reintroduced as it goes on until everyone is back, at which point it goes into a sic I, I+, vi, iv part that reminiscent of "Crying" by Roy Orbitson. The Guitar solo is fuzzy without the slap-back, very melodic, starting with a scale, some slides, then some H/o, P/o, then ending with searing octave bends, and runs right back into the Orbitson sounding build up Pre-chorus, then a quick drop off into an acapella Chorus, then finishing light and melodic.
The next song "Killers of the Cool" we get another nice guitar Hook, into a Chords and Vocal verse, mostly strummed, with a little finger style, and with a flanger. The song's bridge does a false ending leading into one of the coolest keys solos on the record. The part soars so high that I cant be sure, but I think its wandering into some dreamy whole tone stuff.
This song, "Steady" Hits you with the Flanger and finger style right up front. The Vocal melody is full of weird 4th and 5th intervals that are disconcerting a way that works really well to lead you into the changes and staccato picking in the prechorus, which in turn drops into a resolving chorus. More Augmented changes and staccato picking next. The Solo's are nice, but not the best on the record. you get some cool flanging tremolo picking action though. into a dramatic ending.
The Last Song "Once You Leave" Starts off with an intro that sounds like a bridge; very Epic, and a return to the fuzz sounds we heard a lot at the beginning of the record, and Piano sounds we had a lot of in the middle, and this combo helps tie everything up nicely. The vocal melody is long and winding; I'ts very catchy and moves on basically right after you get it in your head, a lot like some of the songs on "Chutes Too Narrow". The prechorus does some cool minor augmented thingies with flanger. After the chorus we get back to a restatement of the bridge sounding intro. The next big change is the "real bridge" which leads with the drums switching into a really prominent hip-hop beat and the keys playing with what I'm calling a glitched out swing feel. the guitar enters this replaying a previously heard finger style part before going into a reverb drenched surf solo culminating in tremolo picking and restatement over an organ wash like we heard in "Fearing".
I've spoken a lot about this record in the past and more just now so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail in closing, but suffice to say that this record is a Must-Have.