Album Review: TØMA’s Aroma

Author: Aaron Grych

Looking for something to be your soundtrack to the summer? Want to impress your friends by pulling out an album with <1,000 Spotify views on almost every song? Well, look no further than Austin-based band TØMA‘s debut album, Aroma. Not only is it a fun thing to say (Aroma by Toma), it is also a consistently good album front to back. Produced by White Denim frontman James Petralli, Aroma is an eclectic mix of psychedelia, funk, and vintage West Coast styles that together create a feeling of warmth and energy. As a whole, Aroma can be characterized by its heavy use of vocally-driven melodies that become the focus of the songs. Around it, spacey synths and groovy guitar accents help to solidify their unique sound and place in the world of Indie pop.

The album begins explosively with the track “Going Nowhere,” a groovy, energetic song whose fuzzed-out guitars, sonically-charged rhythms and driving drumbeat are sure to leave your head bobbing. The song then transitions into the ethereal “Count Me Out” so smoothly that it is impossible to tell where one song ends and the other begins. In this instance, lead singer Waldo Wittenmyer’s vocal chops are on full display, nailing a high pitched vibrato on the track’s catchy chorus. Overall, Aroma is an extremely melody-based work, placing emphasis on vocals and surrounding it with airy, somewhat minimalist rhythm sections. On “Estranged” and “Lights on in the Kitchen,” dreamy guitars float around Wittenmyer’s distinctive voice, creating two distinctly summery songs that are the perfect accompaniments to a road trip. The band switches up their sound a bit on “1000 Times,” opting for chunky guitar sounds with a hint of Middle Eastern influence, setting itself apart as one of the album’s more raucous tracks. The album’s penultimate track, “Not a Secret” is the funkiest one of the bunch, using a driving bass and guitar beat accented by an old school sounding organ playing behind a rising guitar melody. All in all, Aroma is not an album you should let slip under your radar this summer.

Grade: AB

Sounds like: Phoenix, The War on Drugs

Essential Tracks: “Going Nowhere”, “Not a Secret”, “Lights on in the Kitchen” & “Count Me Out”