[Album Review] Towanda- Plaything
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Release Date: May 14th, 2016
Label: Independent
It may be helpful to think of Towanda as the punk (and female) version of the Black Keys. Lazy journalism, I know, but let’s face it we just saved a whole lot of time in getting you your bearings. General bearings, yes, that’s true. The members of Towanda bring a whole lot to the table and any attempt at simple pigeon-holing would be doing them a grave disservice.

Towanda are noisy and abrasive, but you’d be mistaken in thinking they are just expressing their anger with their instruments. For one thing there is musicality in their madness. Even though “Future” sounds as if it’s about to detonate in electric discordance the song’s melody is solid and the guitar solo shows off Rosie Gripton’s art metal chops. As another example, “Hedonism” sounds as if it’s simply going to chug off into hardcore mayhem but then Gripton’s superb vocal performance transcends anything merely nihilistic. Throughout the album she displays the uncanny ability to stay tuneful even when she is virtually screeching and retain an intelligent air even when she is drawing upon the raw visceral power of punk/metal.

Even on a record as loud and metallic as this one the virtuosity of the members as both musicians and vocalists is in full evidence. This is arguably best exemplified on the closer “Damage/Control” where Gripton’s post-rock guitar performance is equally matched by the ultra-heavy bass line of Claire Paquet. The two also sing in exquisite harmony in a wonderful example of duality – light and heavy, sweet and harsh. These elements prove (in Towanda’s capable hands) not to be opposites but perfect complements.