Toundra - (II)

7 songs
40:21 minutes
***** ***
Aloud Music


These days, every band that plays instrumental rock music is automatically labelled a post rock band, probably because that sounds just way better than mere instrumental guitar rock. This also applies to Toundra from Madrid. Founded four years ago, the four guys soon released their debut album (I). It took them some more time to come up with the successor, logically titled (II). The least I can say is that the long interval surely becomes apparent when listening to the seven tracks on the CD.

Toundra may not reinvent the post rock genre, but they understand enough about the virtues of dynamics to make their rather short sophomore effort thoroughly entertaining. It all starts with Tchod, and even though I can’t make up my mind if this is either a short song or just a long intro, it still is a good introduction to the eleven minute long pičce de résistance Magreb which has all it takes to be a great showcase of instrumental post rock. The guitars are loud and fierce, the bass is thumping pleasantly along, and the array of melodies to be discovered is quite amazing. The following Zanzibar is with its five minutes quite shorter, but another good example that post rock songs can also be quite good without having to be twenty minutes long. The two minute track Völand is a folky interlude, before Danubio / Danube shows us Toundra from their more introspective side. Koschei is once again a wilder track which is uncharacteristically short with its three and a half minutes. And then the album already ends with the majestic eight and a half minute epic Bizancio / Byzantium.

Occasionally Toundra add some folk elements, which perfectly fits the concept, as many of their compositions are named after geographic locations. Otherwise they are just using the common ingredients introduced by the likes of Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky, but are smart enough to come up with something that always sounds like so much more than just a clone. The transparent and powerful production is perfectly highlighting the musicians’ tremendous skills, and add to this a fine flair for good songwriting, and you hold in your hands one of the surprisingly better artefacts of the endlessly growing post rock jungle.

Back to Reviews