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TOFU KINGDOM - Souvenir - ALBUM REVIEW



TOFU KINGDOM

Souvenir

Hong Kong, China



Tofu Kingdom have released their sound upon the world in the form of their debut EP, ‘Souvenir’. The duo are honing their sound and taking a tonne inspiration from the world around them as they mould shoegaze and indie rock into something new and bold. It's creamy, thick, spicy and fizzing as it hits you, alive with grace and youth. Each song holds its own on the EP and ‘Souvenir’ ends up feeling like a heartfelt collection of all-time favourites from Tofu Kingdom, it is astounding that these sounds all came from one EP. With the drive to grow and the time to do it, I expect big things from Tofu Kingdom, what new sounds will the Hong Kong duo prepare for us next? I’ll certainly be listening to find out.


‘Souvenir’ starts with ‘Pensive’. The song blasts open the pastel doors with a wave of sound. Guitars strum, cymbals crash and synths clamour a melody together in the explosion of noise and colour. It's a wake-up call and a calling card. ‘Pensive’ demands you listen then, after the introductions are out of the way, it filters you through a comprehensive tutorial on what Tofu Kingdom has to offer. It's a neon stage, pulsing and clean, it drips with creativity. The vocals breathe air into the scene, moving strings, horns, keys; drums clatter against the melody in a bright rush of rhythm and sustain the tune as it goes. ‘Pensive’ is indie/shoegaze at some of the genre’s very best and it's the first song on the EP. Tofu Kingdom knows how to grab your attention.


‘Souvenir’ feels wanting, not in its construction, but want, to me, is the feeling that emanates from the EP. The songs wish to travel, to see the world, to tell their stories to wider ears, higher peaks, colder seas. ‘Mist’ is a slower synth pad-laden song that speaks to that want, that urge to be free. What lies beyond those obscured horizons? It's a song that makes you reminisce, the vocals are close and personal as the instrumental echoes out in the space behind them. A smashing chorus brings the song to brilliance. The same can be said for ‘Revisit’, slightly more upbeat but nevertheless emotionally mature. The chorus is wide, loud like a crashing wave. Layered vocals and melodic riffs climb over one another to get to the rising sun. It's a spectacle in song and a great vibe.


‘Summer Rude (with No Brakes)’ is my favourite song on ‘Souvenir’. For me, it encapsulates everything that Tofu Kingdom do so well. Those breathy vocals sing lyrics that are smooth and full of emotion and imagery. The melody keeps shifting, the guitar keeps up, the bass is simply alive and resisting the pull into the void, percussion slams up against itself and keeps melding, adding, layering; synths finish the whole thing off, they add texture but don't dominate. It's a pleasure to get lost in Tofu Kingdom.


The EP is coming to an end and what a sound it made, what an impact. Tofu Kingdom feel well-versed in the churn of creating an EP, I still can't believe that this is their first. The songs fit so well together, the production is diverse and clean, clear. The instrumentals vary and shine, they take inspiration from the shoegaze genre and classic indie rock but they remain purely Tofu Kingdom. I enjoyed every single moment of ‘Souvenir’ and I hope that more people get to feel the passion that is alive in these sounds. I feel big things coming for Tofu Kingdom.


‘The Brightest Light’ plays us out, yet another massive sound with massive intentions and massive ideas. Golden.



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