The Toads - In The Wilderness
The Toads hatched after a short period of domestic readjustment mid-2021. Billy Gardner (guitar) found himself in need of a roof after his home was consumed by fire, and was kindly hosted by friend Stella Rennex (bass). Elsie Retter (drums) was a regular visitor to the house and after seeing Miles Jansen (vocals) tear it up with his other band at the local bowls club, they invited him along to sprinkle his deadpan musings across their fledgling sound. Pretty quickly they hit on their direction; a savvy, snappy lo-fi pop as openhearted as it is brooding.
After playing some formative shows, including a debut at Jerkfest in 2022, The Toads set about recording five songs mid-year for a tentative EP. Realising the songs were too long to fit on a 7”, they booked in another recording session the following September to extend the EP to 12”. Two tracks’ chords structures were fleshed out with new melodies and arrangements, and by this point The Toads were surprised to find they had an album’s worth of material. ‘In The Wilderness’ is a beguiling record, full of twists and turns. It’s arch, resilient, thoughtful and straight-at-your-head catchy to boot.
It’s fitting that the title track “In The Wilderness” draws this record to a close, being the peak of their invention so far. Drums pound and tumbling bass-lines sprint among the crisply stabbing guitar phrases and soaring horns outro. It’s a survivalist epic of hard-worn wisdom, ambling and restless. “I open up the door trying to get all of us through” sings Miles, becoming progressively more dizzy and despondent. There is a sense of toughing it out that never falters though and this is the essence of what The Toads do best. They push onwards into the darkness and keep their appetite, pulling us all into the light.
Release Date: 9th June 2023
Format: Ltd LP
Label: Upset The Rhythm
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