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TootArd - Laissez Passer (Glitterbeat)
From the funky opening guitar riff of the title song Laissez Passer (Let Him Pass) we immediately recognise the desert blues territory we've once again strayed into, with TootArd's six musicians foisting their own particular Golan Heights roots upon the genre. The band, whose name translates to 'Strawberriest, present a healthy mix of mountain rock and infectious Jabali reggae, which effectively brings to the fore their own Syrian roots, their occupied home of Majdal Shams remaining very much close to their hearts throughout. On this, the band's second album, although the first to receive an international release, the music exudes an incredible sense of joy, though the songs tell of the struggles that come with surviving difficult times in occupied territory. There's catchy riffs, infectious refrains and celebratory choruses, all of which makes LAISSEZ PASSER an uplifting experience, particularly A'sfur, Sahra and the memorable opening title track.