A Tokolosh is an evil spirit from South African mythology that can become invisible by swallowing a pebble, and cause illness and even death. It can also bite off sleeping people’s toes. Not great pets, basically.
Tokolosh the band, from Manchester, do not, as far as we know, include in their lineup any malevolent sprites, but they have mischievously made it rather difficult for us to pigeonhole their sound. It’s a strange brew of all or some of the following: prog, folk, soul, psych, rock and electronica. One website described it as progressive R&B, another as, variously, acoustic techno and ambient folk. Whatever, it’s music created by musicians without recourse to samples, pedals or loops. Any danceability is achieved by the rhythmic propulsion of the drums and bass, and any quasi-religious atmosphere is enhanced by the choral harmonies.
They’ve been making music as Tokolosh since 2011 and are something of a Manc supergroup, featuring as they do former members of the Whip and the Earlies. They claim, cheekily, to be influenced by everyone and everything from Michael MacDonald and Chaka Khan (their dream collaborator, apparently) to fitness guru Tony Horton and UFC Light-heavyweight champion Jonny ‘Bones’ Jones. At a gig recently they performed a version of The Night by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Very cheeky. The lyrics, meanwhile, are of the darkly sexual variety: “All of these songs focus on a slightly different side of adult relationships,” they explain.
The lineup: Liam Frost, Nathan Sudders, Christian Madden, Nicky Madden, Richard Young.