Southampton trio Toreador deliver fuzz-soaked guitars, and sultry vocals with moments of heaviness and delicious harmonies in an intoxicating sound that they describe as “heavy, loud and sexy.”
The band began with primary school friends Jack Wilson (guitar and lead vocals) and Dan Kelly (bass and vocals) learning and playing music together since they were 12. They met Rob Purkiss (drums and vocals) when they were at college and began working on a bunch of different projects together before forming Toreador.
On the Toreador sound, Jack tells us: “We’ve always said we want to make dark, heavy music that you can still dance to. Our live shows have always been about creating as much noise with three instruments as we can and I think this EP reflects that quite nicely.”
As he alludes to, the band released their debut EP Hot Glue last month, on which they told us: “We’ve been working on these songs for nearly two years and we’re really proud of them. You can expect heavy riffs, and lots of harmonies.”
It opens up in beautifully dirty riffy fashion with the excellent opener Get A Grip. Big rolling drums are joined by a filthy descending then ascending riff that drops into a meandering opening verse. Big hits of guitar come in and continue under a huge singalong chorus, then the opening riff returns.
And if that was an impressive introduction to the band then it just keeps getting better. Lively guitars open up Right Here Waiting and feed into an edgy chorus, then a really cool guitar lick supports Jack’s big chorus vocals that end with atmospheric instrumentals.
Then Too Deep opens up with cool building guitars that drop into chugging guitar and bass with stabs of guitar over the top. A very QOTSA-like verse comes in before booming guitars come in during a chorus that ends on big wailed vocals.
Grenade doesn’t disappoint, with explosive riffs alongside edgy vocals. They build up to the deliciously rocky, super-catchy chorus “You’re not a monster, But it doesn’t matter to you, Woh-oh, yeah, What did you bring a grenade for?, Woh-oh, yeah, You always get what you came for.” A subtle key change for the final chorus shows the delightful musicianship of the band. Check it below:
The band go a little old-school Arctic Monkeys on us with the superb Ashes. It opens with a creeping guitar riff that bursts into diving riffs and fuzzy backing guitar before dropping into a jaunty opening verse. A big singalong chorus follows and drops into more big riffery.
On the track, Jack says: “Ashes originally came from an idea of wanting to write a heavier track that people could still dance to. We wanted to create a track that really bounces. Lyrically it’s about a relationship between two totally incompatible people, and how sometimes it’s better to just cut your losses and walk away.” Check it out below:
The EP closes with Be Your Fool, which opens with eerie slow guitars and vocals, which soon burst into a big smash of fuzzy guitars. Lively fuzzy guitars then continue under more of Jack’s winding vocals and big vocals “I just called to say I care” feed into a cool chorus of “I just called to say I love you babe, I love you babe, And I can’t breathe when I’m with you yeah.”
A second chorus gives way to wild, increasingly fast drums and guitars with bursts of guitar in the background then ends on a huge rock-out to bring a superb EP to a heavy ending. Give it a listen below:
The Toreador sound has been inspired by the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Band of Skulls and Dead Weather. And on what gets them writing music, Jack tells us: “There isn’t really any sort of central theme to the lyrics on the EP. We tend to just write about our personal experiences and what is going on in our lives at the time. We like to keep some of our writing open to interpretation as well so it can be a bit ambiguous.”
Toreador have honed an intoxicatingly heavy yet melodic sound that keeps you wanting more. Hot Glue is a perfect example of this. It’s up there with the best new music we’ve heard this year in terms of an EP that delivers on every track, and doesn’t have a weak song on it.
And the good news is that you can catch the band as they tour the UK this week, beginning at Percy’s Cafe Bar in Whitchurch on Friday (21 June), then Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh on Monday (24 June), before taking in Glasgow, Leeds, London and Southampton. More info on their upcoming gigs is here. They tell us they’ve also been busy writing a lot of new music and plan to get back in the studio later in the year to record their next single.