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The Tor Guides - Backwards In Reverse (Futureman Records)

21 January 2020

The search for the fresh breeze of cool sounds has landed in the director The Tor Guides. A project put together by new wave veteran Torbjorn Pettersson, who, after releasing his first single almost four decades ago, keeps his foot firmly in that musical door. After releasing his first long-player in 2007 Honeybees and Tangerines under the moniker of The Tor Guides, Torbjorn has remained on a steady trajectory of quality.

Released mid-November last, the latest album by The Tor Guides Backwards In Reverse is exactly that. A homage to influences with a twisted rebuilding, dragged into the 21st century with an emotional basis- Pilot´s “Just a Smile” and Wizzard´s “See My Baby Jive”. These songs mean something to Torbjorn, and in some ways he is paying his dues here. Luckily, the advances made on the precious albums Strawberries and Chocolates and Lots Of The Pops remain, but with an extra slice of nostalgia for good measure.

Backwards In Reverse opens with the melodic strains of positivity oozing from “To Be”, sunshine echoing from speakers. Moving faithfully into the more melancholic “My Wits About Me”. The descending riff is inspired and in a way addictive, anchored with the shimmering of The Beach Boys. It is an honest rickenbackers-at-the-ready moment. Though the piano ballad “In A Good Place” acts as a showcase for the depth and sweetness of Pettersson’s pipes. The instrumentation is flawless here as to across much of the album. Not an overwhelmingly dense affair but subtle, leading to an enjoyable sound.

As for the covers “See My Baby Jive” is almost unrecognizable, a total rebuilding which only for the chorus, you may be mistaken as an original. The version of “Just A Smile” aches with an upbeat quality, more interesting than an effort which will outdo the original. There is something wholesome to the style of The Tor Guides, and the second half of the record really flows with a foot-tapping dynamic. “Always Somewhere Else” is one such piece, the slower paced “My Midas Touch” is a self-reflection that keeps the momentum flowing. 

The last few tracks blister with power pop, “My Hippie Mess” is a tongue-in-cheek piece of lyrical playfulness against an extraordinary orchestration. And the closer “Something That We Do” provides some stylish twists and turns with a solo that hits the right spots at the right times. The Tor Guides have made a really good album, deserving of some serious attention, for lovers of seventies Todd Rundgren style rock this is right up your street. 

1.To Be 
2.My Wits About Me    
3.In A Good Place    
4.See My Baby Jive    
5.It’s All in the Details 
6.Just A Smile   
7.Always Somewhere Else   
8.My Midas Touch    
9.Writer’s Block 
10.My Hippie Mess    
11.Something That We Do