TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2017
9. Tonstartssbandht - Sorcerer (Mexican Summer)
The two brothers (Andy and Edwin White) that make up Tonstartssbandht (that’s pronounced tahn-starts-bandit) have never been a band that have abandoned ship to unfounded territory, instead choosing to stay on course of their evolutionary style, maturing accurately over time. That's why ‘Sorcerer’, in it's three-track, 34-minute splendour, redefines expectations for what a Tonstartssbandht album can be. “Breathe” opens the album with such lovely, ambient and aquatic guitar tones and such simple, chiming riffs throughout its 11 minutes that it keep the band afloat, even when things get noisier and more dissonant. They then move into the nine-minute title track with the same kind of bright psychedelia approach, with lead vocals that mirrors the warmth of Flaming Lips while the plethora of riffs and weird structural manoeuvres isn’t too far away from what Genesis were doing in the 1970s. The 13-minute finale “Opening" contains some of the album’s most engaging melodies and spirited playing. It purposely chooses not to head towards a calming finale with a bludgeoning, guitar-led bridge that forgoes psychedelic Rock for something more experimental-based. The sound and production of ‘Sorcerer’ isn’t the cleanest; it’s as ‘Lo-fi’ as you can probably get, as evidenced in “Opening”’s finale, where things start to get loud and raucous, they allow pretty much everything to start clipping halfway through, yet somehow they still manage to create such a compelling performance. Overall, “Sorcerer” plays out like a mini-epic, expertly utilising patience to emphasise their set-pieces, with swirling vocals conjuring up lyrics tied to fondness and warmth. The fact that two players can pack this much sound and style into just three songs is a miracle in itself, as they create such a mesmerisingly pretty mix of delicate improvisation and modest chaos. Maybe that’s what makes this 35-minute journey worth experiencing.
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