There’s something about the production on TOLEDO‘s Lovely single that draws me in. The melodies and the song itself has plenty of hooks, but I believe it’s the production that makes this a powerful song… and one you’ll listen to on repeat.
The dog barking faintly in the opening beat pulls you into what I imagine is their home studio. As an engineer, I have a tendency to remove the hiss, but with this song, the gentle hiss adds the right lo-fi element. The kick and snare sound so good. The EQ gives the snare a nice fat sound, and the attack on the attack on the kick is emphasized more than the kick’s 50 Hz, giving the kick+snare a compact sound. The doubled vocals and harmonies have a high pass filter at likely 400 Hz, which places it perfectly with the low mids of the guitar. Then when the chorus begins at 0:54, the bass comes in, as does the 50 Hz on the kick. It gives the chorus a great dynamic, and in my opinion, it is this dynamic that elevates the song.
At 1:26, the second verse hits, complete with the bass and deep kick. It sounds as though the bottom mic on the snare (an SM57?) is brought up a little more than it initially is, helping it cut through the additional instruments, handclaps and all. There’s a very slight vocal plate mixed in with the layered vocals that add to the depth of the song, beginning at the second verse. I think I count at least six layers of guitars through the song, plus several synths that are all brought in nicely. The tightly compressed horns at 2:30 really put the song over the top for me.
All in all, TOLEDO retains a lo-fi sound throughout the song. I find the mix and this band very inspiring! I love everything about this song (I added it Puddlegum Mixtape: tape two).