• Artist: Totorro
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Album: Home Alone
  • Released: April 2014
  • Genre: Ambient, math rock, post-rock, instrumental
  • Available on: Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, Youtube, Amazon, Google Play, Pandora, TuneIn
  • Recommendation by Marisol Bayona Román

Arriving home after an exhausting day of reading and correcting papers, I throw my backpack by the door and walk toward the small shelf by the window. My eyes wander across the shelf, scanning my record collection. I pull out the one at the very end, carefully set the needle down on the black vinyl, and close my eyes. I inhale with the first chords of “Home Alone.” I exhale with the sudden entrance of the drums. The staccato melody conveys playful mischief, like it’s just revving its motors, getting ready to break, peaking my curiosity. Just as I settle into the steady groove, I’m suddenly thrown into powerful guitar shredding and quick tight drumming. Totorro’svocals add color to the energy. The song fades out on one lonesome strum of the guitar.

It’s difficult to explain the dynamicity of Totorro’s Home Alone. The four-piece band originated in Rennes, France, releasing their first EP (simply titled EP) in September 2008. Its sound fell closer to post-metal, reminiscent of the band As I Watch You From Afar (more specifically, their self-titled album from 2011). Home Alone represents a notable departure from post-metal toward the guitar-driven textures of post-rock and the complex rhythmic structures of math-rock. Home Alone is also distinct from Totorro’s previous work in its more light-hearted and upbeat tone.

The first half of the album carries the most energy, though each song contains cleverly placed moments of serenity. The second half of the album takes it down a notch, with lower tempos and ballad-like melodies but does not abandon the powerful, driving vibe. Much like its opening song “Home Alone”, the album is just a brilliant mix of fun, power and calm. And with creative and unexpected turns in rhythm and melody, this album will never bore you.

And a tip for those audiophiles out there: If you have a good record player and a solid system, shell out the extra bucks for the vinyl. You won’t regret it.

Recommended tracks: Home Alone, Tonton Alain Michel, Osao San