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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Album Of The Day-Totimoshi-"Milagrosa" (2008)

The Album Of The Day is "Milagrosa" by Totimoshi.


"I've been a fan of Bay-area trio Totimoshi for awhile now, and the group has always struck me as incredibly underrated. If you do a little reading about the band you'll find every similarity possible to any of their metal, hard rock, or stoner rock peers out on the road today. But the trio's Latin heritage, Tony Aguilar's unique voice, and their all-around desert-scorching sound add dimensions to Totimoshi's essence that are so very lacking elsewhere. The trio has been referred to as a stoner rock or jam band way too many times to count. I'm not sure either label actually applies. Tuned-down and sludgy? Yes, but there is so much more going on here on Milagrosa. Totimoshi isn't a party band, but they will shake your soul.

Milagrosa is an 11 song gem, the band's first semi-conceptual album. Aguilar has said that most of the songs were written as "an imaginary fight between love/compassion and hate/violence." You're probably thinking this is old hat, but Totimoshi use both words and music so effectively that the slow burn of its songs - especially when dug into over repeat listens - will leave an indelible mark. The trio isn't so serious that anything here is boring, but the focus and mental acuity shine through every riff and lyric.

"Sound of the Horn" sets up the main theme of Milagrosa - the choice each person has between compassion and violence in every situation. Aguilar understands these are not always easy decisions, as lyrics like "with open eyes we subjugate to feed the ego's every hungry need" demonstrate. "El Emplazado" is a great example of how the band has evolved from album to album. Although I imagine Page Hamilton (Of Helmet, who produced this disc) had a hand in the smooth sound, Totimoshi has such an incredible groove going. It's easy to imagine these songs naturally erupting with little effort.

The title track has a bit of a faster pace than other Totimoshi tracks, which is a nice change for the mid-way point of the album. "Milagrosa" makes interesting use of a jaw harp (of all things) and group vocals in second half of this excellent song. There is a sense of urgency to live in the now - you know the saying "life is what happens while you're making other plans"? Well, "Milagrosa" evokes this feeling. Get moving, make good decisions, and squeeze every beautiful second out of the life you have.

After this blistering track, "Forever in Bone (Los Dos)" is an interesting follow-up. One of the shorter pieces on Milagrosa, "Forever in Bone (Los Dos)" is almost a folk song. Spare acoustic guitar backs Aguilar's softer vocals. "Follow your mind, follow your kind, swallow what's given away" he sings against this out-of-character, but quite enchanting, music. "The Whisper" brings the electric guitar/bass and the drums back in, but still rides a slower rhythmic wave that gives the listener good buildup for the punchy "Gnat".

Milagrosa is a through-and-through superb addition to Totimoshi's catalog. This album is worthy of any hard rock or metal fan's attention. If you've tired of nothing but party bands to toke up with behind their van in the parking lot at the bar, then Milagrosa should prove as thoughtful a listen as it is engaging. Thoughtful doesn't mean Milagrosa is lacking an edge, but it does mean you might just gain something a little more personal than just a good time." (Jennifer Patton Delusions Of Adequacy),

Track Listing:

01. Sound the Horn
02. Fall and Bound
03. El Emplazado
04. Last Refrain
05. Seeing Eye
06. Milagroso
07. Forever in Bone (Los Dos)
08. The Whisper
09. Gnat
10. Little Bee
11. Dear


Official Website

Purchase "Milagrosa" here.

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