Slovenia’s premier synthwave band Torul returns with their latest outing, an eclectic collage of pop ingenuity and electronic darkness, resonating the artistic doom of coming to terms with the pandemic that sprung up out of nowhere and ended countless dreams in its devastating and life-changing avalanche. The resulting collection of tunes comes across as a soul-searching therapeutic session, as well as an honest display of oneiric fantasies in the aftermath of emotional trauma. After all, as Freud put it, the interpretation of dreams is the royal road to knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.
End Less Dreams starts off with the melodic opener The Only Way, setting the pace for upcoming delights while the soothing synth waves break against the harsh epiphany of life being a predetermined and thoroughly rigged game. Still, the punchline feels more like a laughter in the face of destiny than a resigned and ultimately futile wallow in despair, a sentiment that subtly echoes over the whole length of the album. Now I Die Inside is sung by Torul’s head honcho Torulsson, metaphorically dying locked inside a darkened padded room, only to be reborn in the healing passage of time. The notion morphs splendidly into Hero Material, a lucid ear warmer and undisputed dancefloor magnet. From the first note on, it’s the type of song that you can grow accustomed to quite easily, with mesmerising vocal lines cutting through its crisp and flawless production.
Although not the first time that Torul dabbled in their native language, the two tracks in Slovenian included here are definite stand-outs. Le Replika conjures the experimental vibes of vintage electronica, while Mnenje o Vsem represents that rare timeless dark pop that can find its place in every one of the last four musical decades. With an album this good, it is difficult to list all the highlights, from the amazing buzzing bass of Falling Apart and the catchiness of first single Resonate, to the tongue-in-cheek political charge of We Don’t Care, but this review wouldn’t feel complete withoutexplicitly mentioning two instrumental tracks: When I First Saw Her, which could very well have been the theme for an early 80’s Italian horror film, and Loneliness 9000 that closes the album and pushes it into Coil-esque dimensions.
Treading the delicate path between accessibility and cascading gloom, End Less Dreams succeeds splendidly in hooking you to Torul’s pre-made world and inspiring curiosity, a feat quite rare in this age of short attention spans and overbearing sensory information. All in all, a masterful exercise in excellence.