REVIEW: TOOTARD - MIGRANT BIRDS
The 3rd full-length LP from the Syrian brothers is a remarkable record that is both deeply insightful, thought-provoking yet utterly joyful.
The musical journey of TooArd is just as fascinating and captivating as the band’s history. The band, formed by brothers Hasan and Rami Nakhleh, in the occupied Golan Heights and have released two albums since 2011 that were mainly categorized by their Levant-tinted desert blues, melodic psych-rock, and reggae and classical Arabic modalities.
TootArd actually started as a cover Jazz quarter, performing in their home town and gradually morphed into what it is today.
But 'Migrant Birds' has seen the band reinvent itself, once again. The brothers trace back their roots and influences, found in Arabic 70s/80s disco, and creating a genuinely thrilling, dance-inducing, groovy record.
From the moment opening track ‘Moonlight’ kicks in, you find yourself moving along in way you didn’t realize you could, or would.
By the time ‘Open Seaseme’ – one of the few tracks blending in some English in the lyrics – come on, this feels like a full-blown Arab wedding, but in a disco club.
And even in the slower numbers like ‘Remote Love’ and ‘Ya Ghali’ (which has a touch of reggae), the band manage to create a romantic sound to sway to.
The perfect balance in production between all the instruments – led by the ever-present and all too-familiar champion of oriental music, the PSR-62 synthesizer with its quintessential quarter tones and pure beats, and the guitar smoothly complementary, and never demanding attention.
The fact that the music makes us reminiscent, is not for pure aesthetic only – it, along with the lyrics, tells stories of longing for freedom, seeking to belong, and the frustration of cultural boundaries, evident in ‘Trouble Watan’
It’s hard not to completely and helplessly fall in love with this record. One of those rare ones that you can simply put on, listen to in its entirety, and suddenly feel good about the world.