Tookah follows 2008’s critically acclaimed Me And Armini. Emilíana Torrini has had a varied career in pop for more than a decade. She was once a member of the 90s indie art band Gus-Gus , she wrote Kylie Minogue’s hit “Slow“ and in the credits of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers you can hear her “Gollum’s Song“. It’s this sort of varied and different music that she’s known for.
Tookah introduces the new musical landscape Torrini is exploring. It’s an expedition into slightly new avenues for the artist, with smatterings of electronica found throughout. Unfortunately, the end result is a little confused and it feels like an unbalanced record.
There are some real stand-out songs on Tookah. “Autumn sun” is a beautiful song about someone coming into her life and seducing her husband. It has hints of Nick Drake-esque melancholy with a bit of Joni Mitchell thrown in for good measure. The pain of the betrayal is echoed in the arrangement and Torrini’s innocent and quirky vocals sing over, “He laughed that laugh that kept me sane.”
“Blood Red” is another great song, though probably the darkest song on the album. With a great piano part picking up Torrini’s voice with deep undercurrents of sounds beyond, it makes for deep textural listening experience. There’s some beautiful lyrics in this song too: “I want to be in your bed/ against your skin/where sun spills.” The great metaphorical language littered through the song is one of the reasons that people love Torrini.
I think the issue with this album is it doesn’t ever seem to push itself into full creative mode. Torrini obviously worked on this for a long time and the album seems to have become a little stagnant because of it. All of the songs are perfectly pleasant but they seem to be lacking that special something to elevate them to the next level. Tookah is a frustrating album because there are a couple examples of something fantastic happening in Torrini’s musical mind but it doesn’t quite deliver in the end.