What’s so immediate about Oakland, CA’s Totimoshi’s latest full-length is the flow. Right from the start, on the six and a half minute semi title track “Ladrón In Virgo,” you almost can’t tell where one song ends and another begins. Entrancing and warm, Ladrón is easily Totimoshi’s best work to date.
Ladrón follows Monoli, which was released in 2003 via This Dark Reign Recordings. It is an expansion of that sound that benefits in no small part from the production of Page Hamilton, frontman for Totimoshi tourmates Helmet. Hamilton’s time at the board can be felt in a song like “The Dance Of Snakes,” as the guitar tone recalls what was best about a record like Meantime, channeled through Stoner Witch-era Melvins.
The tone may be somewhat familiar, but Totimoshi’s post-grunge stoner noise dirge is a sound all their own. Frontman/ guitarist Tony Aguilar’s hoarse vocals may recall Kurt Cobain from time to time, particularly on “Gods Of Earth,” but certainly less so than on Monoli. It’s apparent that he’s beginning to come into his own on several levels.
Songwriting-wise, the band has made a huge leap. Bassist Meg Castellanos makes her presence felt on the quieter “The Hide” (and notably as well on “The Shame”) subtly laying the foundation for Aguilar’s thoughtful riffing and drummer Luke Herbst’s echoing tom work. A mellow album highlight that’s over too soon, this track is evidence of an emerging sophistication in Totimoshi’s music. That it works so well coupled with “These Meanings” which follows it, only speaks further to the aforementioned overall flow of the record.
A decade from now, there will be a slew of underground rock bands, the same folks who now look to the Melvins and Helmet, just as Totimoshi does, who will look to this band and mark them as an influence. Their experience on the road has honed them, tightened them, matured their songs, and given them structure. Still, more than anything else, they just flat out rock.