Sitting at over 20 million streams, having played the likes of Glastonbury and Falls Festival, an Australian support slot with RUFUS under their belt and a series of forthcoming UK / European shows in October, Australian electronic four-piece Tora announce their debut album “Take A Rest” set for release on 9 June via Lustre.
Tora formed in Byron Bay in May 2013 fusing plush, layered production and instrumentation with graceful vocals. The band members are Thorne Davis on drums; Shaun Johnston on bass guitar; Jo Loewenthal on lead vocals, guitar, and samples and Jai Piccone on vocals and guitar. Tora have an extensive touring CV, with spots on the line up at The Great Escape (UK), Best Kept Secret (NL), and Germany’s premier festivals Fusion Festival, and Reeperbahn as well as over 70 other festivals and headline shows across Europe, the US, Mexico and Canada.
“Take A Rest” was written over a two-year period in various locations around the globe and mastered by Andrei Eremin (WAFIA, Chet Faker, Hiatus Kaiyote). Singer Jo Loewenthal details the album: “Most of the songs on the album have been written over the last 2-3 years and were influenced by experiences we had whilst touring the world, resulting in quite a broad sound. We borrowed a few synths from friends, and we recorded a lot of organic sounds in the cactus garden at Jai’s house, where a lot of the songs were produced. Some of the songs have flies, bamboo creaking in the wind, washing machines and even the sound of us scraping and hitting cactuses with rakes.”
He goes on to add: “A lot of this album is more upbeat and dancey than anything we’ve made before, so the title is not so much referring to the sound of the music, but more so an encouragement for the listener to forget about their problems for a moment and ‘take a rest’ from their responsibilities while they listen. Making the music was our way of escaping reality and finding a peaceful place in our minds, so we hope the listener can find that same place when listening.”
Tora is a Greek word meaning “now” and this name seems apt for where the band happen to be – finding success after keeping up a continual progression of released singles and collaborations since they formed whilst building a rapidly growing listenership globally. “Another Case” is the band’s current single (and one of the stand out tracks) and it is gorgeously produced – smooth, mellow and chilled – it’s easy to picture yourself in a tropical beachside bar at sunset with this song providing a perfect backdrop. There are layers of sub-bass shifts and funk and it’s a real lovely, summery song full of breeze and balm.
“Love Life” is introduced with a delicate vocal accompanied by piano but rich textured instrumentation including, lazy, languid guitars and “panpipe” sounds turn this song into a wonderfully warm little number. It soothes your soul and like most of the album, is refreshing in its ability not to impress with big sounds and noise but just encouraging the listener to “take in the moment”. Other notable top tracks are “Mercury” – swathed with sensual synths and “Entity” (featuring Merryn Jeann) – which carries a delicious reggae beat accompanied by wobbles of sassy and sharp vocal.
“Too Much” is blissfully beautiful – and notable for having what sounds like a crackle of vinyl running through the song giving the track a regular rhythm revealing the band’s ability to create interesting soundscapes. “Bridges” (feat. Grace Pitts) starts with punctuated vocals and pulses of synth underpinned with a rich, sultry electronic beat that give the song extra depth – this is one of the best songs on the album.
Overall, “Take A Rest” is a chilled blend of ambient harmonies, layered rhythms and pulsing soundscapes. With 15 tracks, it is perhaps 3 or 4 tracks too long – the chillwave genre can start to feel a bit repetitive – but the band have shown that they are adept at mixing together electronic and organic sounds which create a vibrant vista to ensure that this is one of your soundtracks to Summer.
The band play London’s The Lexington on 9 October as part of their 20 date UK/EUR tour.