Recommended Aussie Band:Tamerlan Empire | Sydney Symphonic Black Metal | Listen

Album Reviews : Toehider – Toehider EP

By on February 8, 2009

I’ve been sitting here for a while now trying to conjure up a short and sweet way of summarising Toehider’s debut for a while now, but I’ve failed. Michael Mills, the one man behind this project, lists Queen and Dr Seuss as the main influences. Add a slab of traditional (yet interesting) prog rock to the mixture and that’s as close as I’m going to get. The fact that each track is extremely different to its neighbours doesn’t help much either.

First off, I’m going to say straight up that I don’t ever remember, ever, being this intrigued, entertained and worryingly obsessed with a band’s lyrics before. There is just so much to delve into that I can’t help but open up the lyrics and read along whenever a song comes on. And with topics ranging from cooking people in pies, to accidental incest, to imaginary characters who hide children’s toes, it’s impossible to get tired of them. If Mills ever runs out of musical ideas (god help us all), then as far as I’m concerned he can just rehash mediocre prog for as long as he lives, as long as lyrics this amusing keep coming.

Ever wondered what the musical equivalent of a bag of skittles is? I haven’t either, but “Toehider”, the title track, is exactly that. It’s bright, colourful, and packed with an assortment of different styles. It’s an entire cartoon world compacted into just four minutes of joy. Bouncing between heavy prog riffing, lush vocal harmonies and segments of seemingly random pace changes, it’s not a song that’s easy to sit still through. And if you think the song is absurd, have a read of the lyrics. This is where the aforementioned Dr Seuss influence comes into play. There are so many little word plays and ingenious rhymes throughout the track that you would swear Mills just copied parts out of ‘Green Eggs and Ham’. They are worth the price of this EP alone.

“Jesuitmont”, a prog-infused cover of a traditional Scotch ballad may have moments that sound a tad awkward at first, but its upbeat nature and catchy guitar hooks will have you bobbing along in no time at all. “You’re Not The Girl You Said You Were” is the only track that heads towards normality, as it leaves the fantasy world and the prog influences behind, instead being more just a memorable rocker. Bringing the EP to a close is the desperate, captivating “The Moon Was A Kite”, the sole track with a serious manner. If, because of some freak orbital alignment, you actually manage to decipher the meaning behind that last song yourself, you deserve a medal.

Toehider’s debut is an absolute ball to listen to, and I could not recommend it more. Currently, it’s only available in digital form, but it comes with a clever origami case for those people who like to have their music on a CD rather than a hard drive. The entire EP is streaming in its entirety on the band’s Myspace, but it won’t be forever so don’t delay having a listen too long. 9/10

For fans of: Queen, Dream Theater, Template, children’s stories and anything that bit odd.

Band: Toehider
Album: Toehider EP
Year: 2008
Genre: Prog Rock
Label: Independent
Origin: Victoria, Australia
www.myspace.com/toehider

Track listing:
1. The Lowest of the Low
2. Toehider <- Reviewers choice
3. Jesuitmont
4. You’re Not The Girl You Said You Were
5. The Moon Was A Kite

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.