Thursday, 6 September 2012

REVIEW: By Toutatis - Hero and Leander/World's Worst

*Originally published for (23/8/12)

Hot on the heels from their split EP with Dressed Like Wolves, Saltburn’s By Toutatis offer us a new double A-side single full of the swashbuckling shanties of their previous efforts, but with a lot more gusto. Tectonic-sized drum rolls, stoic root notes and quivering vocal vibrato work together to throw you into the midst of ‘Hero and Leander’s’ ferocious storm.

References come thick and fast to the myth of the same title, detailing Leander’s swim against the harsh tides of Hellespont sea to consummate his love with the priestess, Hero. Staggered harmonies echo Hero’s effort to guide Leander on his journey using a beaming torch, “There’s no better way to find her”, while fraught violins and thunder-clap drums accelerate the song to a dramatic conclusion.

‘World’s Worst’ eases you in more gently. Seething, archaic Celtic strings waft over bawdy vocals and guitars throng to the beat and pulse of the rhythm section. It’s quite difficult to discern the lyrics – perhaps due to unpolished sound levels – but the band’s superb song writing more than makes up for this with an infectious chorus and a lasting cacophony of dark, chamber pop sounds. 

If the journeys on this double A-side are what By Toutatis can muster at this stage, then let’s hope for an odyssey on the next.

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