It took over two years for the spastic six-piece Toonces to lay down their unique sound in an official album. And the resulting work definitely sounds like it’s trying to contain years’ worth of ideas.
The group’s debut, Milk For My Tears, is bursting at the seams with accumulated genre experiments, sketches, doodles and other marginalia. The album features fractured takes on everything from surf rock (the opening notes of “Tang Tang”) to hip-hop (the distorted drag rap at the heart of “Fire Island”).
Toonces make room for just about everything on their first release. The blown-out and sad “Moonbow” plays like the soundtrack to a space-age bachelor pad performed by winking cynics who now have the knowledge that space is largely a cold, dead nothing. The elegant and bucolic “Gnome Trot” sounds like folk from the future. But if you had to put a pin in Toonces, their dominant sound is a warped spin on bossa nova. The majority of the tracks sound like Astrud Gilberto took a stroll on Copacabana Beach and accidentally tripped into an interdimensional rift.
While the album has some definite weak points—they absolutely could have cut a few of the thirty-second toss-offs—this long-gestating work is worth a spin for anyone who wants to samba by starlight.