Heavenly Recordings/Cooperative Music, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Just because London based outfit Toy has only been around a couple years, don't write them off as neophytes. On the contrary, more than half the guys have paid their dues in other bands, namely Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong. The quintet brings their respective influences to the table and pump out a very compelling blend of post-punk, krautrock, psyche-rock, shoegaze, and experimental electronic sounds on this debut, all backed by an overwhelmingly dark backdrop. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

At nearly an hour, this is a listen that requires not only a bit of your time but your emotion as well. The music itself is quite tense, as are the lyrical themes. Though tracks like “Drifting Deeper” and “Omni” are instrumentals, they still emit the same moodiness as tracks like “Lose My Way,” where frontman Tom Dougall illustrates some impending pain via relationship dynamics.

This isn't to say everything here is a downer. In fact, “Motoring” employs catchy, upbeat hooks and a driving tempo. “Dead And Gone” is a droning rocker with the sort of hypnotic guitar work that would make Sonic Youth proud, and the dreamy ballad “My Heart Skips A Beat” is a reaffirming look at love, a much more optimistic track.

Though at their core, these are pop songs rooted in melody, it's not very often the band leaves it as straightforward as that. The closest they get to back to basics pop is “Make It Mine,” probably the most accessible tune for the listener looking for the instant gratification. Toy generally relies on more hazy shoegaze and fuzzy waves of noise-rock, and their vast influences come together in the disc closer “Kopter.” At nearly ten minutes, this experimental rocker builds into a swirling, ebullient display of post-punk with crashing drums and quick paced fuzziness.

This is an album without a bad tune. If there's any My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus And Mary Chain, or The Horrors in your rotation, it's well worth it to spend time with Toy. There just aren't many bands playing this hybrid of pop/psyche/garage/post-punk as well, past or present.

Rating: A

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© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Heavenly Recordings/Cooperative Music, and is used for informational purposes only.