Everyone’s favourite French Studio Ghibli referencing instrumental quartet Totorro have a new album coming out, and bloody hell am I excited!
Big Scary Monsters latest signing Totorro are gearing up to release their brand new album ‘Come to Mexico’, the follow up to their highly praised 2014 debut ‘Home Alone’ – an album that gained them international fandom and has been listened to *very illegally* on YouTube over 600,000 times. This large fan base Totorro have gained since the release of their debut means that they have a lot more people to impress than they originally did, and the ambition and power that is demonstrated on their newest album is telling of how aware of this Totorro are. They live up to the incredibly high standard set with their last album and go beyond it – with this album having 11 Tracks over Home Alone’s 8. Come to Mexico also features their longest song to date and some of their best songs to date as well.
This record has everything you’d expect from Totorro. It’s filled with energetic and motivating guitar melodies, all very memorable and emotive pieces, and the kind of thing people know and love Totorro for. I’ve always found their music very childish. Not in a throwing a tantrum and knocking valuables over way, but in a sense of being curious about life and having a very innocent and quizzical approach to things. The music has always felt very explorative, as though you were learning something for the first time as a kid. This kind of thought process is helped by the great sense of patience and space, and ‘Clara Mystere’ – the only vocal feature on the album – features a melody that’s nursery rhyme-esque in its characteristics, giving off a very comforting feeling.
It’s this kind of telling, honesty and passion in their music that makes it, to me, so relatable, and makes people become attached to it.
Even though there are the very typical, lovely and jumpy Totorro tracks, this album still sees the band experiment and try new things, with the changes they’ve made as a band in the past two years being more evident. On a few tracks Totorro even get, dare I say, more aggressive on this album? Some of the hard guitar playing and visceral energy on tracks like ‘Trop Fort Jele’ and ‘Yaaaago’ make them seem more like incredibly peppy punk songs. As well as this aggressive playing style, this record also shows off their first use of distortion, with ‘100 Repos’ and the title track ‘Come to Mexico’ featuring a very heavy, but smooth, bass overdrive. 100 Repos is also the longest song on the album, and the longest song in all of their discography (finishing at eight minutes). This a bit of a prog move, but it’s noticeable that on this album Totorro don’t do anything they don’t have to for these songs. All of these very new elements to Totorro’s sound don’t feel out of place in relation to their original vibe, it just feels like an extension and maturing of the band.
Home Alone felt like a quiet night in your parents’ house; no one in the house but some of your mates, all of you sat in the dark, chatting and laughing. Come to Mexico feels more like a road trip you take at the crack of dawn with all your friends. It’s a very well formed and very fitting follow up, and as second albums go, it’s absolutely cracking. Not to mention how deep the lyrics are…