Monday, September 5, 2011

REVIEW// Hooded Fang: Tosta Mista

      Hooded Fang gained quite a bit of media exposure last year, with both their critically acclaimed debut record, 'Album', and through being the most blogged upcoming band on The Hype Machine. The Canadian group dropped their long awaited second lp, 'Tosta Mista' at the end of July this year, and by golly it's a hit summer album if ever I heard one. Compared with the wryly titled 'Album', 'Tosta Mista' has grown and developed along with its six members. Everything about it has been refined and polished and sharpened while still keeping that nostalgic 50s charm. Light hearted and yet mature, the lyricism is absolutely fantastic. Something about them is thought-provoking, but they are so through their straight-forward bluntness, if you will. Their words are chosen carefully, but are delivered as though plucked from the salty sea breeze. The care-free guitars and sunshine-infused drum work are floating under a film of subtle reverb that refuses to let the summer end. 'Tosta Mista' is lo-fi surf pop stonker of a record, and even at only twenty minutes long, I promise you it happily eats away at your time, in the best possible way. You can buy all of these ten outstanding tracks over on Hooded Fang's Bandcamp page here!
     The album is actually composed of seven songs, broken periodically by an interlude entitled 'Big Blue', which is broken itself into three different parts. This ongoing number is a trance-like instrumental that for the most part, ties the record together from start to finish. Adding a slower element to the fast nature of the album too, the only other possible substitute could be 'Den of Love', with it's seaside crooning and surreal female contribution half way through. The other six tracks don't feel like sitting sit at all though. Like fidgety children, they keep it all contained, before letting their groovy passion blast out your headphones, given half a chance. 'Clap' kicks things off with some eager humming that explodes into a fury of drumming and beautiful lyricism. 'ESP' follows, as one of my favourite songs. The vocals change up throughout, from background sound to leading the track. The dynamics transition more than nicely, from fast to slow to fast to slow again. You can just tell a lot of blood sweat and tears have gone into making 'Tosta Mista', and I think that's all paid off. 'Brahama' is another solid three minutes, filled with effected humming and the playful singing of notes rather than words. The title track just has some unbelievably lines thrown in, from feeling like a 'gyspy gnome' to 'the world is an egg that I've laid', and I love just it. The female vocals add that special softness too, which is nice for the album's sonic contrast. The second half of 'Tosta Mista' isn't as immediately strong as the first, but when intoxicated by the title track and 'ESP', you hardly notice.
     All in all, I think I've ran out of adjectives to describe Hood Fang's latest effort. Take my other words for it though, 'Tosta Mista' is most definitely something to hear. A considerable step away from the 'cute' label 'Album' landed them with, this Canadian sextet has grown and matured and ground away at their style until they got it polished to a level everyone is happy with, no more so than myself. Witty songwriting, instrumentation that surfs on the waves of quirky pop, and a vocalist to match, Hooded Fang have proven themselves a musical gem. They don't take themselves too seriously either, which makes them and their sound so unmistakably endearing. Stream the title track below or buy the record here!