Toe is one of the few post-rock bands out there that’s easy to listen to. The band’s sound is quite distinctive compared to their Western counterparts, preferring clean guitar settings and some choice effects in almost all of their songs. Unlike well-known post-rock bands like Sigur Rós and Explosions In the Sky, Toe’s music can be described as light and melodic, with rare instances of distortion and vocals. The Japanese band is comprised of Kashikura Takashi on drums, Mino Takaaki and Yamazaki Hirokazu on guitars, and Yamane Satoshi on bass.
So far, Toe has released two albums and a few EPs. Their first full-length album, The Book About My Idle Plot on a Vague Anxiety, was well received by both local and international fans. It can be described as dynamic and free, with Takashi’s drums dominating the tracks. It was with this album that Toe established its distinct sound and song structure.
For Long Tomorrow‘s overall sound is similar to their debut, but there is promise in this more experimental second outing. Toe shows that they’ve matured musically, as demonstrated by their extensive use of the Rhodes piano, acoustic guitars, and minor vocals in their songs. Although they have introduced new elements to their music, much of Toe’s style remains intact, from their clean and melodic guitar riffs to their upbeat drum patterns.
A noticeable change in this album is that Toe’s drum beats have been toned down, blending into the band’s overall sound. Despite this, Takashi’s jazzy and upbeat drumming still has the same energy that was present in their previous album. The addition of samplers into solos or breaks provides texture to their songs. Takaaki and Hirokazu’s guitar playing continuously moves from acoustic to electric, changing the feel of most of the songs.
The first few songs in For Long Tomorrow showcase the band’s usual upbeat instrumental tracks. The second track, “Vanishing Point and Whistle,” has a sound reminiscent of Toe’s debut. Many listeners consider the vocals from “Say it Ain’t So” to be forced and awkward sounding, but it’s part of the band’s move to expand their musicality.
“Two Moons” and “Goodbye” are two very captivating tracks. ”Two Moons” has a mainly acoustic vibe, with a vibraphone part that makes it melodic and light. On “Goodbye,” Japanese singer Toki Asako collaborates with Toe to create a pensive and moody song.
Other songs on the album ride on Takashi’s beats, which are sometimes reminiscent of Toe’s original groove. Many of these songs are structured with a slow intro, followed by repetition, finishing with a climax. Noticeably upbeat tracks are “You Go,” “Can’t Hear Mosquitone Anymore #2,” and “Long Tomorrow.”
Toe’s second album may sound at times like an extension of their debut, but the level of experimentation in For Long Tomorrow provides the light, upbeat sound the band was looking for. If Toe continues to innovate and improve their music, they’ll be crossing continents and gaining new fans soon.