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Toundra: IV

Latest foxy offering from the Spanish instrumentalists.

Toundra’s fourth record may be all instrumental, but nevertheless it’s still conceptual.

Unlike the interwoven tunes here, the story behind IV is pretty simple: two foxes need to escape their forest habitat because of a fire. And the allegory underpinning it all? The human race is a danger to the environment. Like the raging inferno sweeping the mythical woodland, this record at its most vivacious crackles and roars – but there is ample chill time too. Opener Strelka hints at what’s to come as it flows from lulling post-rock soundscapes to distortion-pedal-to-the-metal plunges. Qarqom swells before spewing out some Mastodon-esque sludge. But there’s more here than just the archetypal quiet/loud dichotomy. A horn section peeps out of the burrows on Viesca; Lluvia dips into ambient noise. At around 50 minutes, the Madrid band’s album is quite a lot to digest in one sitting, but part of the fun is using the music to soundtrack a fox-themed flick in your noggin. Did our furry friends escape the blaze without harm? The positive uplift in closer Oro Rojo suggests so, and it’s a fitting finale to a cunning record that holds hands with both bleakness and optimism at the same time.

A writer for Prog magazine since 2014, armed with a particular taste for the darker side of rock. The dayjob is local news, so writing about the music on the side keeps things exciting - especially when Chris is based in the wild norths of Scotland. Previous bylines include national newspapers and magazines.