|Photo by Dave Herr|
Last year the release of their debut Spirit Mane EP saw Brooklyn based quintet Toebow offering their self described brand of "cartoon rock" to more than those lucky enough to see them play one of their spirited live shows in their adopted hometown and now almost a year later the band are releasing their debut full length album Themes.
Since my discovery of them through word of mouth, their from-the-ashes association with the Vermont psych pop collective BOBBY, and as many live shows as I could possibly manage in the year between their EP and eventual album release, I have come to know Toebow as an incredibly reliable band with a unique vision. Part of the fuel for that lies in their collaborative nature and ability to follow almost every musical idea that comes their way to some sort of conclusion. This method of collaborative composition has led to guitarists and vocalists Martin Zimmermann and Nate Ulsh joking referring to themselves as an idea band.
Though she has since moved on, both to form her own project Uni Ika Ai as well as becoming a member of The Dirty Projectors, Maia Friedman is featured the first single as well as elsewhere on Themes. Considering how heavily group harmonies and intricate instrumental interplay factor into the band's core dynamic, "Bed In Breakfast" is a bit of a curveball; a mellow sunrise greeting number. Yawny and languid without remaining utterly static.
While "Bed In Breakfast" is a bit surprising in its restrained energy, some of the elements I've come to know from the band's live set are present: the harmonies, the vocal hand-offs, and the springy twang of Zimmermann's guitar occur in the subtler slow jam.
"Bed In Breakfast" much like the songs on Spirit Mane exists in a world of the band's own creation. The lyrics are presented without much exposition or extrapolation. With songs like "Starfucker" or "I'll Be Gone", Toebow is building its own mythology and the references don't receive much in the way of explanation. To Toebow's credit, they don't really need them. Much of Toebow's brand of playful, vibrant colored psych rock is about capturing a particular mood than narrative fortrightness and "Bed In Breakfast", with its bedhead lethargy feels like a downright lucid dream.
Toebow's debut full length Themes is out May 24th on Imaginator Records. You can pre-order it now.