Syrian rock band TootArd, made up of brothers Hasan and Rami Nakjleh, has come through with their latest EP ‘Unmute’. Building on their previous release ‘Migrant Birds’ - where they shifted from their experimental sounds towards more 80s disco and funk vibes - the duo takes this exploration even further in ‘Unmute’, resulting in a vibrant and bass-heavy journey with dance floor beats, dabke rhythms and an overall theme of justice, peace and equality. 

The opening track, ‘Justice’, sets the stage with sweet and charming key riffs. A delightful blend of funk, soft rock, and prog-pop unfolds in intricately layered arrangements. Rami's lyrical exploration of justice and freedom of the oppressed adds emotional depth to the retro aesthetics. The uniquely structured chorus, devoid of words, showcases Hasan’s skillful keys and guitar solo.

Transitioning seamlessly into the next track, ‘Look Me in the Eye’, the EP maintains a cohesive sonic experience. Selective sound choices bring together Middle Eastern melodies and percussions, harmoniously intertwining with funk and disco elements. Sung in Arabic, the chorus diverges from the predominantly English vocals on the EP, offering a nostalgic whisper-sung exploration of love and connection.

The EP concludes with the track ‘Only Love’. Opening with Rami's chant - "Only love will conquer hate" - the track encapsulates the overall theme of the entire record. The instrumental arrangement resonates with echoes of Daft Punk's iconic ‘Random Access Memories’, immersing listeners in a fusion of electronic and nostalgia, leaving the audience with a resonating message of love prevailing over adversity.