Latching onto the existence of an afterlife—despite the damning evidence to the contrary—is a pretty justifiable cognitive leap for somebody to make. The hard stop of death is a giant, looming inevitability and it’s really not that difficult to see how a belief in something else can help assuage some of the anxiety.
These notions are especially understandable when it comes to the death of a loved one. It’s become commonplace to wish for a “better place” for ones we’ve lost and held dear, as the idea of death as a transition, rather than a terminus point, helps us cultivate a meaning from their loss. It’s nice to think that consciousness could potentially carry on in some non-corporeal state, where the grief of lost time and lost relationships is either forgotten or cannot follow.
On their new song “After Life”, Toronto’s Torandaga flips this comforting concept of life post-death on its head. The duo provides a solemn glimpse of what it would be like to have the burden of memory tag along into the beyond. Death, in this way, becomes yet another emotional state where lost love can fester like an open wound.
“In the afterlife, I’ve given up. In the afterlife, I’ve seen enough. I really lost you baby,” laments Torandaga’s weary traveller, channeled through Andrew Jurrinen’s ghostly falsetto. The blunt simplicity of the lyrics is a welcome contrast to the metaphysical grandeur of the situation. Rather than get lost in heady conceptions of the afterlife, the duo stresses the importance of cherishing our relationships in the fleeting time that we have to do so.
“After Life” breezes along with a simple structure, but it is bolstered by massive, immediate instrumentation. The airy introduction gives way to post-punk guitars and thunderous drums, all textured by tasteful production flourishes. Like with the lyrics, Torandaga utilizes an economy of musical elements combined in a way to suggest something both otherworldly yet relatable. “After Life” is an excellent example of minimalist songwriting used to maximum effect.