It’s been a while since I updated yes, but I’ve been up to a lot (finishing uni, visiting the parents in the States, getting mugged and going back to work in a shoe shop). So to take my mind off everything, I blasted off a review of the Toy album for the lovely Katie’s website Freedom Spark on one of my few days off!
There are arguments for and against cohesive albums. For one they can encapsulate all that is good about music, a collection of songs that work wonderfully together AND as separate entities. So what if they all sound the same? WHY MOAN ABOUT LISTENING TO SOME EXCELLENT MUSIC AND HEARING SOMETHING BEAUTIFULLY SIMILAR? Get my point? Though the band may have been formed from the ashes of the long forgotten (and derided) Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong, Toy are thankfully a much more pleasant concept. In their self-titled debut, the band have created a beautifully melodic and captifying thing of beauty.
Opener ‘Colours Running Out’ really sets the tone for the album, a lush array of layered psychedelia that would sound amiss on a 60s compilation or the latest Horrors release (more on that later though). Within the sound layers there is a subtle darkness in the tones used, and it’s one that doesn’t overpower the songs, they just gently intrigue the mind. There’s nothing that fades into the background on the album, you discover some little interesting new sound that you never noticed before on every listen. This darkness and perhaps musical introspection is most prevalent on ‘Strange’ but not everything falls into this same mindset. On ‘Omni’ the final strains of the track work into a beautiful and delicate almost lullaby-esque finale that sets the rest of the track off perfectly.
Now onto that Horrors guff. Yes sonically this is reminiscent of the former comedy Goth rockers (sorry), right down to the range and intonation of Dom O’Dair’s vocal delivery, but there are worse bands to sound like. And to be frank, it’s probably not the worst thing in the world to sound like a band who created the best album of last year (in my eyes anyway). ‘Drifting Deeper’ sounds like it would sit perfectly at home on “Strange House” with its mechanical whirring and penchant for drama. Oh how I miss seeing The Horrors playing tracks from Strange House … but back to Toy.
It’s not doing them a disservice either. This album already sits there as being one of my favourites, which says a lot given my aversion to new music. It flows wonderfully from beginning to end and delivers some absolutely cracking songs (yes I have just aged myself 20 years using that phrase). My own personal highlight is the simply stunning ‘Heart Skips A Beat’. No, its no that Olly Murs track (what an improvement that would be for the Murs song) but a delightfully melancholy fuelled opus that personally I wish would never end. If the album was just that track 11 times I would probably still be raving about it as much as I am. Put this on, forget about all of life’s troubles and just lose yourself in the music.
So there you have it, my first review in a very long time, ending on the worst cliche ever! Keep an eye out as I have some more stuff to post over the next few days including gallery visits, and I might even go as far as attempting to review some TV stuff (I’ve just got a Netflix subscription, I’ve lost so much time watching some absolute crap!)