Seattle’s Tomten have been creating glorious baroque pop since their formation in 2010. On their newest album Viva Draconia, released September 28th, they continue to give us a serving of pop perfection, but with added new-wave and psych flavors.
Viva Draconia opens with “Balance of Terror”, a title which sounds quite scary, but is actually a beautiful, Beatle-eque composition, heavy on the piano with a chorus evocative of a church choir and featuring some surprising synth sounds throughout its bridge. Songs like “St.Martin’s Summer”, “Celadon Song” and “Gogmagog” have the same pop sensibility, but are all also incredibly well developed tracks with loads going on in them- the use of synthesizer is fresh and never dated, the drums are restrained but perfectly clear, the vocal harmonies beautiful and warm. “St.Martin’s Summer” is my favorite track on the album, a lovely piece of Brit-pop (by way of Seattle), brilliantly composed and strikingly fresh despite clear 60s influences. “Gogmagog” is the most psychedelic track on the album, with it’s whimsical title (the internet informed me that Gogmagog “was a legendary giant in Welsh and later English folklore“) and sunshine-y sing along melody.
The surprising tracks on the album are “Blue Movie”, “New Leaf” and “Passing Snow”, which all feature a new-wave, 80s feel to them with heavy use of synthesizer and reverb. None of these songs sound dated, however, and “New Leaf” in particular manages to sound decidedly fresh and is catchy as hell to boot.
The album’s closing tracking, “Aster” is absolutely beautiful. Laying on my bed listening to it on a rainy Sunday, my heart just soared through the entire 5 minutes.
Viva Draconia has excellent production, amazing composition, and is 8 tracks of pure goodness worth going to listen to right now. POW will also be getting together with Tomten November 28th at their show with Sugar Candy Mountain in Seattle- see you then!
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