Album Review: Tora – Take A Rest

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Byron Bay’s Tora have spent the last few years touring the globe. It’s hard to believe with the amount of work they’ve put in that Take A Rest is their debut. The title of the LP isn’t a coincidence — Jo Loewenthal from the band told us recently that “the title is an invitation to the listener to sit down, put in their headphones and take a rest from their daily problems”. This is exactly how the album makes you feel. Take A Rest is the type of album where you can get lost in its calmness without skipping a single track. 

The LP opens up with ‘Rudie’, which ultimately sets the backdrop for the rest of the project. The instrumental is ambient goodness and is absolutely hypnotising. It’s easy to feel chilled out from those liquid-like synths. Next up is ‘Another Case’, which was previously released as a single. The most intriguing part of this track is the electronic percussion — though it’s deep, the tranquil vibe is still on full display. ‘Another Case’ makes you feel like you’re in a rainforest of smooth electronic beats, it completely takes over you in the best possible way. 

‘Love Life’ is surprising — it still has the serene feeling of the previous tracks, but it’s sexy and sultry. The following track ‘Blame’ is intriguing in the way it combines an array of diverse sounds that delicately compliment one another. The sounds weave around one another beautifully, and though it could've sounded messy if they got it wrong, it sounds perfect. The highlight of the track is at the 1:03 mark where the intensity picks up for a brief moment. Picture the dreaming image of a sun gazed Sunday afternoon, where you’re chilling on the grass in the middle of spring, then listen to ‘Too Little’, you’ll get it. Though ‘Too Far’ makes you want to have a rest, there’s also a degree of intensity to it, particularly the beat at the start. 

The first song I heard off of the LP was ‘Amsterdam’, and I was instantly hooked. I actually listened to it on repeat for two weeks. It’s a moving track, and you can feel every word. ‘Amsterdam’ is utterly brilliant and it’s probably been one of the finest releases from 2017. Next up is ‘Mercury’, this track has an underlying energy that’s waiting to burst. It begins to slow down for a little while with ‘Dope’ (featuring Sam Lawrence). The ending of the track is reminiscent of a plane taking off for liftoff. 

‘Entity’ (featuring Merryn Jeann) is immensely sophisticated. Merryn Jeann’s vocals are ever so hypnotising and add a nice touch to the track. Next up is the incredibly poignant ‘Too Much’. The driving force in ‘Too Much’ are the perfectly layered synths, which combine beautifully with the subtle strings. I envision ‘Bridges’ (featuring Grace Pits) becoming extremely popular. There’s an aura of clarity that bursts from the track. ‘Bridges’ proves that Tora can provide different variations of the chilled out/ambient vibe that they’re going for. It’s incredibly easy to fall into a trap and make every song sound similar, but Tora go beyond this and present a scope of sounds that represent the overall themes of Take A Rest and ‘Bridges’ reaffirms this.

Though ‘Want Me Gone’ isn’t one of the standouts from the album, it’s still interesting and compliments the rest of the tracks. The main focus of ‘Empyrean’ is the instrumentals, and they progress through different stages as the track plays through. The last track is the album’s title track, which will have you ready to get that rest that you’ve been yearning for. 

If you’re not feeling mellow and well rested by the time you get to the end of Take A Rest, you’re doing it all wrong and need to go back to the start and relisten to the album. Tora’s debut is dazzling and showcases their superb sound. If you’re looking for the perfect album to help you escape for a little while, look no further than Take A Rest.

Written by Amy Smolcic

You can catch Tora at the below shows:
23rd June - Howler - Melbourne
24th June - Oxford Art Factory - Sydney 
30th June - Brightside - Brisbane
1st July - The Northern - Byron Bay
7th July - Jive Bar - Adelaide 
8th July - Amplifier Bar - Perth
9th July - Mojo's - Fremantle