"Souvenir" is the debut EP from Hong Kong-based indie rock band, Tofu Kingdom. Boasting an infectiously catchy style full of hypnotic vocal flows and melodic instrumentals, this is an anthemic 5-track banger that's tough to take off repeat. There's a very relatable vibe that's present throughout this release. Somehow able to grasp the perfect blend between uplifting and melancholic, the band has succeeded in producing a refreshing and dynamic release. What a debut!
The poppier side of indie perfectly clashes with the more emotional side of alt-rock. Everything hits as it should here. The transitions are unique, the production is spot-on, the lyricism is strong, the musicianship is impressive... "Souvenir" has it all. You're taken on a wild ride while jamming this thing through, and this is without a doubt a release that any fan of the genre will enjoy. As always, we asked the band to give us a run down behind each track on the EP.
"Pensieve", the first single of the Kingdom, leads the audience to a journey of reminiscence. The song describes the ever-persistent struggle between the blessing and curse of sweet memories. If you have a choice, will you choose to bury yourself in the past?
Overwhelmed by the dreaminess of the opening track, "Mist" follows up to provide a completely different facet of memory to the listeners. The deep, slow and misty vibe mimics the bittersweetness brought by long-lasting, miserable memories. The Kingdom adopts a whole new approach, with no heavily distorted shoegaze guitar, but only dreamy synths and clean, transparent guitars, setting off the well-mixed vocals. Surprising as it is, the song adds new elements to the Kingdom’s established approach: dreamy and catchy.
Moving on from the misty air, "Revisit" places the listeners in a completely different realm. Starting off with basic drum beats and rhythmic bassline, the listeners are at ease. Yet a sense of commotion kicks in along with the vocal and distorted guitar. The dynamic contrast in this piece mirrors the restless past and raises the question of why memories resurface from time to time.
"Summer Ride (With No Brakes)", the fourth song of this EP, integrates jangled guitars, psychedelic synths, dreamy vocals, shoegazing guitars into an ultimate Indiepop music the Kingdom aspires to. It shows the cruelty of life: Every happy moment in life will turn into an irretrievable past, and what remains is the futility of reminiscence, as illustrated by the Kingdom’s dreamy and addictive arrangement.
The album-closing song, "The Brightest Light", entails the richest Shoegaze elements among all other Kingdom’s songs. With an abundance of heavily distorted and long reverb guitar sounds accompanying the double vocal, it’s loud and blasting, but stimulative at the same time. It urges the listeners to not just revisit but move on from their past.
You can jam along to the EP in its entirety below. We also added our personal favorite track, "Pensieve", to our Underground Indie & Alternative playlist on Spotify. Make sure to follow Tofu Kingdom to stay on top of what else they have going on. Enjoy!
Tofu Kingdom - "Souvenir"