Toodar: White Elephant

This is by far and away the best song I've heard all year

  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: EP
  • Buy this record: MySpace
Rating: 8.9 out of 10
The cover image of White Elephant by Toodar

If you've ever had a tune stuck in your head then you're perfectly normal, it would appear. There's plenty of scientific research going on at the moment to unravel the phenomenon of "earworms", as they're being called, and it seems that about 90% of us get one at least once a week. Sadly about 15% of us say their earworms are "disturbing" and up to a third think they're "unpleasant". Check out this link to find out more about the earworm research, as well as this episode of Radio 4's phenomenally excellent program Material World.[1]

I know first-hand that it can be dreadful when you get a rubbish song (more often than not, just one line) going round and round and round in your head, but every so often I get an earworm that actually improves my day. I've had Ten Paces by Toodar running through my head on-and-off for well over a week now, to the point where I even catch myself humming it when I'm trying to listen to other songs. Thankfully the reason for this obsession is that Ten Paces is by far and away the best song I've heard all year.

Toodar first came to my attention a few weeks ago, when the endearingly quirky home-made video for their track Toy dropped into my inbox and compelled me to investigate their MySpace, and last night I finally got to see them live. They were playing the Camden Barfly in advance of a mini-tour which starts on Monday, and I'm pleased to report that the Toodar live experience is equally as good as their recorded output. To be honest, that took me by surprise.

The production on their recordings is so taut, so refined, so precise, that I was fully expecting the inevitable sloppiness of most live acts to seep into their performance, but somehow they managed, if anything, to be even tighter when playing live. The rhythm section was the slickest I've seen in a long time (by a country mile), the keys and electronic ephemera were handled with a discerning touch and subtlety that one doesn't normally come across in venues such as the Barfly, and the vocals were expertly delivered from a fine set of lungs. What impressed me most, however, was seeing a front man who was quite clearly an adept guitar player, but also one who knew when not to play (a skill most emphatically not displayed by the first act on the bill, I might add).

Of course, all this precision and virtuosity would be for naught if Toodar didn't have the songs to back it up. I've already stated my love of Ten Paces and Toy, and thankfully I can report that the rest of the set was of an equally high standard. If you're stuck in the Big Smoke you can next catch them live in December, but for those of you further afield (though perhaps not too far) be sure to check their myspace for details of next week's tour; you'd be a fool to miss out on a chance to see them.

Toodar - Toy [audio //]

Toodar - Ten Paces [audio //]

  1. Incidentally, Material World host Quentin Cooper would be top of my "who would you invite to your dream dinner party" list. ↩︎

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