Toby Driver
Live at Roulette, March 2017


4.5
superb

Review

by Astral Abortis CONTRIBUTOR (37 Reviews)
October 10th, 2017 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist


This album is nothing more than a taste. Live cuts, chosen to sample the new material that Toby Driver, key composer and songwriter behind such acts as Kayo Dot, maudlin of the Well and many others, wrote. This new material, as he tells it, further explores the “balladry” of his last solo album: Madonnawhore. And though this is the most immediate comparison to make in the wake of that album, I would argue one step further that the compositions presented as they are, here, hearken back to styles and feelings that trace the entirety of his body of work. Duel violins draw us in, deep and moody. The signature synths of Driver’s recent work come next, perfectly melding to help the music roll out like a slowly unravelling tapestry. For a live recording, the music is clear – like we don’t even need a studio recording for this material; it sounds perfect enough as it is, still unfurling. Driver’s vocals seem to take a backseat now, the central focus of these pieces being the playfulness of the violins in tandem with magnetic guitar work and pulsing drum beats. The heart of each track flows with short, sung passages that help elaborate some of the structure, put flesh on the bones of each song. But, time will only tell just how much deeper the material at hand will be explored - should it get the full studio treatment - the full dynamic vigour that such active and ever-changing compositions as these could fulfil.

There’s something to the subtle, grazing post-rock grandeur that sets a spell on the listener. The way in which Driver constructs each track leaves you hooked and dragged along into its clutches until it ends and, if that is one negative thing I could say about these songs, it’s that they all end rather abruptly in comparison to how slowly and carefully they initially build. At anywhere between six to ten minutes, these long runtimes still leave a little to be desired - tracks such as these need all the time and nurturing they can get, to fully realise the potential they hold.

After the four new tracks finish, the release is closed out with an unreleased track from the Madonnawhore sessions, ‘Marked’. It’s easy to see why ‘Marked’ didn’t make it onto the final release, as it carries a more “upbeat” tone to it and some instrumentation that doesn’t quite gel with the tone of the album as a whole. While not a bad track, it leaves little impact, and its presence here seems like nothing more than a token for long-time fans. It’s hard to complain when such a prolific and consistent musician releases new material with only the promise of more to come, and it’s with that that any Driver fan should absorb and consume these tracks with eager anticipation for the future they promise.



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user ratings (6)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2017


3345 Comments


Excuse my useless, vomitory thought-patterns and this review entirely, just support Toby Driver and buy this album to help fund a new solo record: https://kayodot.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-roulette-march-2017

Veldin
October 10th 2017


2981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn, I follow him on FB and wasn't even aware of this record. Great review! Thanks for bringing attention to this

Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2017


3345 Comments


Four new tracks to “crowdfund” a full studio album

Veldin
October 10th 2017


2981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, sorry I hadn't read your review because I got too excited, then realized you explained everything haha. Very cool, though. Really stoked to check this out.

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2017


16767 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is fantastic, maybe even better than Madonnawhore. Glyph is amazing.

Digging: Tame Impala - Currents B-Sides & Remixes

Jasdevi087
October 15th 2017


4556 Comments


I don't part with my money I fuse with it

Digging: Tom Waits - Rain Dogs

Gyromania
October 21st 2017


23436 Comments


"if that is one negative thing I could say about these songs, it’s that they all end rather abruptly in comparison to how slowly and carefully they initially build."

think you meant 'there'. good review, been meaning to check this out

AnimalsAsSummit
October 21st 2017


2946 Comments


can't wait for the full length, this stuff is promising

toolguitarkid
November 3rd 2017


274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've enjoyed this quite a bit more than Modonnawhore, and that album really clicked for me.



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