You know what a Tookah is, don’t you? You don’t? Don’t worry. No one does, Emilíana Torrini has made it up. For no apparent reason.
The album of the same name is Emilíana’s sixth solo album, and follows the successful Me and Arminisome five years ago. Emilíana has been part of the Icelandic collective GusGus (who hasn’t?), found global success with her Fisherman’s Woman album in 2005, wrote a song with Kylie Minogue that went huge, featured on the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, and lent a song to Iceland’s tourism marketing campaign in 2012. Tourists were turning up at Keflavík expecting to hear ‘Jungle Drums’ playing.
Tookah though, seems oddly tepid. It’s Emilíana, all right, but it’s just going through the motions. The first three tracks are uninspiring, including the eponymous ‘Tookah’, and the lukewarm ‘Autumn Sun.’
It’s not all bad though. ‘Animal Games’ is delightful electro pop, as is first single ‘Speed of Dark’ which sounds like it could be covered by Kylie Minogue and be a worldwide smash tomorrow—it’s that good. It evens shows traces of her GusGus heritage; ‘Blood Red’ is dark and foreboding.
The conclusion of Tookah is the wholly unnecessary ‘Fever Breaks’. I suspect it’s meant to sound feverish, but it’s ill thought out, and adds nothing.
Emilíana has stated that Tookah is “the core of you, the you when you were born before life decorated you like a Christmas Tree with all your baggage.” Perhaps Emilíana needs to stop making up words and start producing stronger albums.
Originally published on Iceland Review Online.