‘Dripping with musicality that’s sweeter than you could ever imagine, you want to devour as much ‘Honey’ as possible.’
Intro to TOUCAN
Back in May 2018, near the very start of the #FridayFinds weekly playlist, I added a track called ‘We Fell For Miles.’ It was, to put it simply, completely epic. I just couldn’t get enough of it. However, for one reason or another, I never managed to review it. So, with TOUCAN – the very band that released that very track – announcing the arrival of new material, there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to feature them this time round. Entitled ‘So Easy to Love You’, each of the three tracks on this follow up EP to their 2018 self-titled release proves that this 10-piece from Ireland are a soulful force to be reckoned with. However, while each track really does make them easy to love, ‘Honey’ offers musicality that’s sweeter than you could ever imagine. Read more at: Behind the Music: Interview with TOUCAN
From the second that you hear the horn accents, the energetically rhythmical percussion and the harmonised vocals, you are hooked. It’s infectious. It’s as groovy as can be. And, most of all, it instantly makes you want to devour as much of the sound as possible. Effortlessly tasty, it’s a combination that truly sets up the sensations to run throughout this track which sits between the other two on the EP. However, if you think your auditory appetite has been well and truly whetted, it’s about to be even more.
Casting aside the opening groove-inducing sound, with the arrival of the initial verse the trademark that lies at the centre of TOUCAN’s tracks emerges. This is, for those of you who don’t know, the male vocal of Conor Clancy. Aptly dripping with sweet soul, each and every one of the sublimely clever lyrics is formed with delicate purpose. And they really are that clever. Seamlessly weaving through references, phrases such as ‘You’ve got me sinking to the depths of this saccharine lagoon’ flow out into our ears with ease. I mean honestly, whoever thought they would hear that line in a song?
Likewise, accompanied by a chilled mix of gently growing horn lines, delicate percussion and the softest chords you could imagine, the whole sound is truly beautiful. This said, with the addition of harmonic female vocals on the smile-inducing setting of ‘Wouldn’t mind being, Fossilised in this, Golden hive with you’, the whole sensation gets strengthened. Equally, with the overall sound becoming even tastier as we head ever closer to the title lyrics, the interweaving guitar riffs and horn lines generate a sound that’s indulgence funky-fied! However, in further evidence of the musical cleverness, these title lyrics are not of the track, but of the EP.
A cappella in style, the soulfully set, delicately statement like arrival of these lyrics is nothing short of totally crowd-pleasing. Impossible to not join in with as soon as you’ve heard them, they instantly seem familiar. And, even though the lyrics that follow are less than predictable, their setting completely encourages this whole sensation. Resurging at full force, the infectious energy kicks back in at the perfect moment: right at the end of the phrase. Springing back into action, the rhythms fill your body while you shout phrases such as ‘Get lost with me in sweet, sweet honey’ from the rooftops. As a sound, it’s completely joyous. However, don’t be fooled by thinking the melodies you’re hearing are easy to join in with. Sure, like any great melody Conor’s main one may be, but with the wealth of vocal harmonies on display, even that could prove a challenge!
Returning to the sound which we were treated to right at the start, the sparse, freer texture pours back into our ears. Having now experienced the groove of the track fully, this time it somehow feels even more successful than when it was first introduced. Maybe it’s because it feels like home with the familiarity of the lyrics truly engrained. Or maybe it’s because it truly highlights the stylistic influences that lie at the heart of all TOUCAN‘s tracks. One thing is for certain though that whatever it is, it completely works and is a delight to experience. However, if it is delights that you are after, what could well be TOUCAN’s most clever musical stroke is about to top anything to this point.
Grooving to the full sound, it very much feels as though there will be a re-run of what has been. But prepare to get caught out! Completely transforming, the energy suddenly vanishes to reveal a sound that’s as contrasting as it is beautiful. Dreamy and nostalgic, a mix of hushed vocals, delicate bell tones and gently evolving harmonies take us a world away from everything else in the track. Soothing us, and enabling us to breathe it’s the most welcome of surprises and while it may initially sound very much like a departure, countless musical signposts prove just how related it actually is. Equally, with Conor’s knack for ensuring lyricism seamlessly relates to a title delivered in the most understated of ways, it’s the perfect precursor to a final groove-centred, sugar filled treat.