TOY – Toy
I suppose TOY were under a fair bit of pressure to come up with the goods, given the excitement that’s followed them around since they released ‘Left Myself Behind’ last year. And as I noted in my live review from End of the Road there’s the small matter of keeping things fresh on their debut for Heavenly, given that there’s a fair bit of music that gets tagged ‘krautrock, psychedelic, shoegaze’ out there right now.
The second single, ‘Motoring’, could certainly have been seen as more of the same, but ‘Lose My Way’ introduced another angle: it’s one of several songs on the album wrapped in swooning synths. ‘The Reasons Why’ is a good example, built around what sounds like a sampled snatch of lush, string-like synths and unfolding at a slower pace than morotik-but-woozy opener ‘Colours Running Out’. Scattered amongst the fast ones and the poppy ones are more experimental efforts like the instrumental ‘Drifting Deeper’. ‘Dead & Gone’ gets back into the motorik groove, chugging along quite sedately for more than 5 minutes before developing into a head-nodding wigout. ‘Motoring’ is exactly as you’d imagine it if you somehow hadn’t heard it, but ‘My Heart Skips A Beat’ is the standout of the album. It’s poppy, bordering on the soppy, and the melody gets under your skin.
After this halfway mark it’s back to the mix of motorik, melody and psych (‘Omni’ makes me think of the Clangers, though that’s not a bad thing), finishing with ‘Kopter’, which is also aptly named; it speeds shinily along for nearly ten minutes before ending in a freakout that sounds, given the clattering guitars, like ‘Kennedy’-era Wedding Present. A suitable end to the album.
There are enough elements here to make this a genuinely interesting record – much more so than TOY’s friends the Horrors, who I have never really thought were all that substantial. Of course it remains to be seen whether the recipe will work again, and the vocals are rather limited, but given that the band seem to be setting themselves ambitious goals we can only hope that they continue to stir new things into the mix.
The band’s site is here. Go and buy the album.