Daily routine is most of the times stuck in our heads. We wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast and then lunch, work in the meantime, then go home, sleep and then again from the start. This repetition can go for so long that sometimes we may not understand how fast time passes by. And when we realize it, it can drive us mad. This probably happened to Benjamin Racine (bass/vocals), Mehdi Rouyer (guitar) and Anatole Petit (drums), who after a hot Sunday in the office in 2015 formed Tolstoi.

Tolstoi express the circumstances under which they were formed: the meaningless repetition of work in concrete buildings which became cells, resulting the loss of true emotions for what is around. The band cleverly gave the term “office-core” for their music. Their first album ‘Broken‘, released in 2015 reveals their initial anger. It is a punk/grunge/post-rock album. Or to better describe it, is a raw, angry and frustrating album which screams about the decay that we think is our “daily normal life”. I think many people can find themselves in ‘Broken‘. It is an honest outburst.

In 2017, Tolstoi released ‘Bankrupt‘ (Recorded, mixed, produced and mastered at Mystic Cave Productions), which has a surprising kind of turn. Therefore I suggest you listen first to ‘Broken‘. In ‘Bankrupt‘. Tolstoi sound like going “unplugged”. There are two songs from the first album, ‘Sisyphus At The Office‘ and ‘An Essay On Brutalist Architecture‘, which are executed differently. At some point I got the same atmosphere with Nirvana’s ‘MTV Unplugged In New York‘, especially with the track ‘Breaking The Line‘. ‘Bankrupt‘ in general follows the acoustic side of grunge and also I felt some drops of americana folk mostly in ‘Sisyphus At The Office‘.

Tolstoi are one of those bands which want to declare something with their music and not be just another punk/grunge indie rock band. This element in my opinion makes a band good enough and worth listening to them.

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Mary Kalaitzidou