The new band from Liam Frost and members of The Whip and The Earlies present a new 7” single Shapeshifter / Bloodlines, released 7 January on Static Caravan
What’s in a name? Quite a lot in fact, at least for the creative sparks behind new nightmare-pop raconteurs TOKOLOSH. Made up of the mercurial Liam Frost and members of fellow darlings of the northern alternative scene The Whip and The Earlies, the band plumbed South African mythology for a name befitting their mischievous, mysterious clash of sounds.
“I thought it was a beautiful but powerful and rhythmic-sounding name that matched perfectly with the aggressive drums and Liam's darkly sexual lyrics. In South African culture, the Tokoloshe is this mischievous character capable of truly awful things,” explains guitarist Christian Madden. But fantastical creatures aside, there’s a human side to their music too. “All of these songs focus on a slightly different side of adult relationships. The desperate and slightly obsessive aspect maybe, but also how people can change inside of a relationship – for better or worse.”
Marrying bruising electronics and keyboard melodies with choral vocals and soul inflections, the Manchester group only recently formed but their stories have entwined since childhood. “Nicky (guitar) is my brother, while Nathan (Sudders, bassist) used to come to our house after school when his Mum was working, probably from the age of five or so. We started our first band Sam's Partycles in our early teens but we hadn't learned to play our instruments yet so the project didn't exactly get off the ground,” laughs Christian.
Their new double a-side single displays their maddening talent in bright, vibrant colours: 'Bloodlines' is a menacing electronic odyssey, like a heavyweight Postal Service sparring with Yeasayer, with picked acoustic guitar and plaintive piano chords weaving their way around thundering percussion and swirling synth sounds, while ‘Shapeshifter’ spotlights the band's slinkier side, splicing lyrics about jackal hearts in amidst handclaps and seductive rhythms.
“A lot of effort has been put into making the record, and I'd like to think that we'll be able to get it out to as many sets of ears as we possibly can,” says Liam Frost. “I'd say that's ambitious enough, right?”
TOKOLOSH are: Liam Frost, Nathan Sudders, Christian Madden, Nicky Madden and Richard Young.