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Emiliana Torrini – “Tookah” Review

Torrini shows you can be a master of acoustic and electronic with "Tookah"
Emiliana Torrini
Emiliana Torrini

Emiliana Torrini doesn’t have the highest output in the world and after the mish-mash of all her previous genres last time out, Tookah most certainly provides a step in the right direction in her progression towards merging delicate acoustics and lush electronic arrangements together.

“Tookah” opens the album with a soothing clay percussive beat that trickles throughout the track while open strummed guitar chords lazily play over the beat. The track is underpinned by humming synth whirls and they beautifully balance Torrini’s sultry smooth vocals. No one can deny that Emiliana’s voice has a hushed beauty to it that makes it warm and comfortingly – like pouring audio chocolate into your ears. This album, like Fisherman’s Woman really presses this point home. “Caterpillar” follows taking the guitar route but with plenty of atmosphere and layered vocal arrangements. One of the albums traits that starts to become evident here is that while the tracks chords may be relatively simple, their delivery is so intricate that the speakers are constantly filled with charming motifs and mini melodies. It’s a real treat to listen to. “Autumn Sun” is another example of this. It’s a beautiful acoustic guitar and vocal driven track but it’s full of little embellishments that elevate it from a great track to something quite special.

“Home” has one of the most unusual time signatures to get used to. I think it’s 7/4 but I’m not sure. It’s a revolving run of chords that keeps spinning around in a summery daze. It is warm, luscious, dreamy and delightfully fresh every time you listen to it because of how it sounds different to everything else on the album. “Elisabet” follows on with a more subdued track that builds itself around smoky, reverb filled keyboards, guitars and ticking drums.

Flipping across to the poppier side of Torrini’s repertoire “Animal Games” is this albums Jungle Drum. It’s decidedly more electronic than rockier. It’s marching beat pushes the cheeky lyrics forward along with its glitchy keyboard melodies. It’s still lite pop but it’s fun, catchy and easily the most instantly accessible track on the album. Along with “Speed of Dark” which is a down-tempo pop odyssey and phenomenal, it really shows that Torrini is a master at putting together all kinds of genres. You can hear the elements of Kylie Minogue’s “Slow” that still bleed into this kind of down-cast pop track. It hints at the 80’s but does it in a modern spin.

Emiliana Torrini - Tookah
Emiliana Torrini – Tookah

“Blood Red” returns to a more brooding atmospheric guitar lead track. There’s something slightly Wild West about it but it’s really about holding a regretful space and the track really conveys the sound of emptiness perfectly with its creaks, moans and metallic slices. The track pulls everything together for an airy descent on the outro. The album then finishes with the seven minute experimental track “When Fever Breaks” which is the rockiest the otherwise soft album gets. It spends the first three minutes slowly building up the main elements of the band which then settles into a taut hippy riff that repeats all the way to finish whilst Emiliana starts singing over the top from half way. It’s stylistically similar to “Gun” from her previous album Me and Armini but it’s a full band effort. It builds to the suddenly loud boom of “I Will Kill You!” The album then ends abruptly.

There’s almost always been a certain in-cohesion, aside from Fischerman’s Woman, in Torrini’s work and I’ve always admired that she is genre bounding in her strides. Here more than ever you feel that everything has gelled into a full on product beautifully. It’s crammed with little nuances you’ll hear third time round and the melodies are beautiful. I expected no less than amazing. Torrini Took-it!

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