Toupé - Alopecia
Toupé are a 3 piece heavy rock band (though heavy rock isn't particularily the best of genres to classify them as). The band is unique in the sense that they are comprised of two bassists and a drummer. One of the bassists plays a 4 string, the other a six string. Toupé were formed around 2002 and this first album (of two, as of this review) was released in 2003. The current plan for the band is to release an album for every letter in the alphabet, thus compiling 26 albums. The album is released under the independent label, Hackpen Records.
The band, when the album was released had a different drummer as to what the new album (Burgers, 2005) has. The line up:
Adam Bailey - Drums & Percussion (2002-2004)
Karl Evans - 4 String Bass, Backing Vox & Kazoos (2002-)
Grant Sharkey - 6 String Bass, Vocals & Kazoos (2002-)
Jay Havlock - Drums & Percussion (2004-)
The opening track has a highly effective opening of both Karl and Grant shouting "Wig!". This track is a great opening song. The whole song is in 7/4 (except the chorus, breakdown and outro) which, as odd timing as it seems works effectivly. This is probably my second favourite from the album. The main riff is heavy as the basses are hamonised an octave. This song is about fake lifestyle "lies! lies sells the records" "They! Say! They tell you that... Life! is hard..". Most of the song is 'shouting' singing but not in a 'death metal' styles. This is a great opening song, and a great song altogether.
2. Big Man Said To Man
This song is slower paced and cumbersome, but in a good way. The lyrics are very clever as they are about religion and are arranged into three verses that are like dialogue between a man and 'god' "Big Man said to man, man your planets all ***ed up". The chorus bass is a slow droning bass overlapped with slapping bass, with also choral vocal stylings. A dark, melodic piece, but a fantastic piece at that.
3. Three Days In The Pit
"Best Track - Three Days In The Pit." KERRANG!. Kerrang describes this as the best track which I almost agree with. The verse is very dark, with tremolo high bass notes over Grant's whispery vocals. Toupé themselves describes the meaning of the song as "Three guys turned up to three Toupé shows, three days in a row. Only Karl knows what state their heads must have been in by the end of it.".
4. The Bathsphere Song
The slowest song on the album. The song is about a man who aims to get to the bottom of the ocean so much, but when he is on his way there he realises that he has no way of getting back up, and his friends know this, but his wife and kids do not. The song never picks up speed, but remains slow and sombre, but this is not a bad point in the song. The verse uses slow deep bass notes, with karlO's little and Grant's vocals are the main point of the song, certainly during the verse. A friend of the band 'hazza' made a video for this song and this will be released on the future DVD, and the video is avaliable on their myspace (Linked at the bottom).
5. The Lonely News Stand
This is probably the cleverest song, lyrically. It is sung from the perspective of a news stand, that is getting poor service ("come get me, i'm so lonely back here"). The lyrics are all based around magazine or newspaper names, so much so that during the breakdown, Grant sings "Hello!" then says quietly "hello, d'ya get it? its the name of a magazine. Ok". The song is in shuffle feel but most of the notes are on the beat, staccato and rapid. Overall, this fast paced song really speeds the album up after The Bathsphere song/
6. Puzzles For Monkeys
This is certainly the strangest song on the album. Impressive rapid bass is played on this album, and it also features KarlO's voice box. The song is about how men cannot understand woman because they are confusing. The voice box is featured in the breakdown where Grant speaks: "make the voices karky". The chorus is heavy and the verses are light, its a great song.
7. Gilly's Weapon VS Stoolers Wheel
This song is amazing. This is easily the greatest song I heard in 2005 easily. The intro is single drum beats on the beat, with Grants heavy vocals then all three members on kazoos! As the kazoos exit in comes the heavy bass intro riff which very headbangy. The verse riff is fantasticly heavy and simultaniously funky. The breakdown of the song is very dark, with grants whispery vocals. After the quiet bit, an explosion of 'dark' funk completes the song.
An awesomely evil song. It's a militant waltz about the people that love to appear on TV talk shows and reveal how nasty there are. Also moves on to little Mr Bush and his wonder wars. The main riffs are slowish a are very heavy and deep. The lyrics are really well constructed.
9. The Silas Log
The final song from the album. This song is about how easy it is to write a song, and this song is indeed fantasticly well written. Its catchy too. The verses have light bass whereas the choruses have heavy bass. Its a simple combination but it works. The outro too is great, the whole tune is a really kick ass closer, and it also contains the song '18's' live.
Overall, this album is the best album that I heard in 2005 (though released in 2003, I was only introduced to them this year). Toupé are an incredible band, look out for the review of the second album, Burgers (2005) soon, and also Comrades (200?) when it is released!