Toe.: Hear You

By Matt Craig Burke

Progressively intricate and aggressively delicate; Toe provides listeners with twisted instrumentals fantastic for an in-depth listen, or stimulating background noise. Primarily instrumental, the Japanese quartet covers Hear You, head to toe, with countering guitars driven by accenting drums that sooth with complexity.

Hear You unfolds with a tender guitar interlude, “Premonition” lulling the ear in before gliding towards jagged drums that get the noggin bobbing with, “A Desert Human”. The first two tracks lay a foundation of spaciousness to the album that becomes noticeable throughout. Guitar work bending back and fourth, intertwining and overlapping drums and bass, the tracks tend to distract in the best way possible. As the guitar leaves plenty of room, it encourages the drums to take off. Most of the tracks adopt this sound, as the drums interrupt with intelligence, creating a sound not common to radio-play. “Song Silly” offers calming pianos accompanied by brilliantly mundane vocals familiar of James Blake. Changing pace, the drums sneak in, giving the song a down-tempo groove as curling bass notes crumble about.

Toe may have concocted a batch of songs that seem to be all too common on Hear You, but there is more than what meets surface. Not all the songs contain fierce drumming that demand attention. With repetition the songs become more alive, demanding a closer listen. “Time Goes” turns the drums into a faint, ticking-clock, casting time away with muttering guitar–a pleasant “voilà” moment of Hear You. Continuing the smoothness, polite pianos glide along, “オトトタイミングキミト” backed by alluring feminine vocals, that creates a scenery to a dreary cocktail lounge; a mood that seems to reoccur right before “Because I Hear You” tip-toes about with teasing guitar that gradually climbs Hear You to an end.

With such a genuine and effortless personality, Hear You is excellently accessible. 11 songs of melodic math-rock bliss that goes down easy whether its for ambiance or in your face.

Rating: 8.0/10

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