EP Walkthrough: TOTTY take a dive into their blistering latest EP, Garden
The Wollongong group's second EP is a nod to their growth and evolution over the last few years, reflected in packing indie and punk.
Header image by Jye Talbot.
Since their emergence a few years back as a bright-eyed new act from the then-blossoming (and still thriving, to be honest) Wollongong live music scene, TOTTY have become one of our favourites. The trio have become experts at this pacing indie/rock/punk/pop hybrid of sounds, taking fierce guitar melodies and thick-coated percussion only to pair it with the bright hooks of Kelly Jansch, who gives the band this kind-of 90s-esque, No Doubt-meets-Paramore edge as she dives into the depths of her life and the world around her.
It's a combination that has consistently proved itself unstoppable across the last three years or so, with their earliest work making room for a 2018-released debut EP Cut The Poppies - a five-track release that brought the group's peaks into the centre frame as an introduction to the group, and the versatility packed within. Then, with a string of singles that have arrived since then, the group have doubled down and shown how they've continued to grow and evolve, showcasing a refined craft that really pushes the group forward into the future as a trio no doubt amongst the next generation of Australian rock.
Now, with their second EP Garden, their evolution and maturation is encapsulated with a remarkable five tracks that showcase their every facet as a multi-dimensional group. Across the course of Garden, TOTTY switch between textures and sounds with a grace that makes it seem effortless, capturing this more subtle side of their work and that as-mentioned versatility that can be spread even within that specific, more gentle niche of their greater soundscape.
As the group explain in a track-by-track dissection of the EP (which you can dive into below), it feels like a lot of this maturation comes from a heavier emphasis on observing the world around them; the EP diving into the personal lives of the group both together and as three individual members, while also exploring the contribution they - and those around them - have on the world as a whole. In turn, the EP has a more reflective and intimate nature, even as it reaches its musical climaxes with the ferocity you'd expect from their debut release, and what they've put out since.
Take Change, for example, which empowers with self-validating thoughts above a base of clashing guitars and thick percussion, while Same Bed moves with an almost grunge-like form, detailing TOTTY's time spent on the road. The EP's more subtle moments is often where it gets personal; Lucky reflecting on those who judge your achievements and spin them in a negative light, while Berrara is a snapshot of home, and the comfort and warmth that comes with it - something many have felt over the course of the last twelve months.
As a whole, Garden is an evolution of TOTTY rather than a strict extension of what we've already heard, featuring the group going above and beyond to further themselves both musically and personally, and how these meets together in the TOTTY project. "A lot has changed since we wrote our EP but we are proud of where the songs came from, and where we are now," says Kelly on the record. "Learning to embrace all the different parts of growing and changing."
Garden dissects all of this, and it's one hell of an adventure that you can listen to below, while you read a track-by-track walkthrough of the EP's themes, written by the band themselves.
There will always be times you feel the need to change, it can be hard to know whether you're the person you want to be or whether you're trying to fit someone else’s ideas. We hope this song shows that being yourself is the best person you can be. It’s a hard thing to learn and we are still trying to remember it ourselves.
Sometimes the real world is a bit shit, it’s nice to escape reality and trade it for a place inside your head. Getting older and still keeping your imagination alive is sometimes hard but I’m glad I’ve still got my fairy friends inside my head whenever I need em.
This one is all about those times people judge the validity of your achievements. Maybe they’re quick to say it’s because of who you know, or that it’s just pure luck. If you worked hard for something, don’t let anyone tell you that what you’ve achieved has come from anything other than yourself!
This song is about home. Home can be a lot of different places and mean a lot of different things but really I think it’s just wherever you feel the most comfortable to be you. It’s about love and loss and missing special people and special places. Berrara means a lot to us, hopefully you can feel the love through the song.
Same Bed is a story of life on the road. It kind of centres around the downtimes, where it gets monotonous and repetitive. When you are right in the middle of it, the hotels all start to look the same, and the beds definitely aren’t like home. Looking back at those times now, they feel equally as important as the high strung, adrenaline-filled parts.
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