TOY - TOY
- By Sam Herbert -
- Sep 07, 2012
Halfway through TOY’s self-titled debut release, on 'Motoring', a song awash with swirling synths and scratching guitars, all held together by pulsing drums and Tom Dougall’s understated vocals, it becomes staggeringly obvious that this is going to be one hell of an album. Given that it’s a debut makes it even more astounding; the bold, soaring soundscape created suggests that this is a band on their third, not first album. It’s no surprise that The Horrors touted them as the band to look out for this year.
It was when they supported Faris and co last year that the quintet first started turning heads. The unassuming almost motionless stage presence, dressed in black with long straggly hair covering their eyes, conflicted with the loud sounds coming out of the speakers. A sell-out four-week residency at hipster haunt, the Shacklewell Arms, followed and the buzz has been growing louder ever since. Word got around that three members of the band (Dougall, Maxim Barron and Dominic O’Dair) had a monkey on their back in the form of Joe Lean & the Jing Jang Jong, whose hype was canned alongside their debut album back in 2008, to the relief of everyone involved.
Yet on listening to TOY you’d never know that any of the quintet were once part of an indie-band with pop sensibilities. None more so is this so than on final track, 'Kopter', a mesmerising 10-minute sprawl of scattering drums and yawning guitars, which steadily grows and grows to end in a ferocious, expansive release of sound. There are similarities to Deerhunter on the psychedelic infused 'Make It Mine' and The Horrors on the brooding 'Strange' but TOY are more than an imitation of the two.
'Heart Skips A Beat' is a tender, uplifting song and opener 'Colour’s Running Out' fizzes by in a mind-bending haze of sounds. There are definite nods to the motorik grooves pioneered by krautrock bands Neu! and Kraftwerk in the 70s, as in stand out track 'Dead and Gone', but instead of one straight route down the Autobahn TOY branch off, picking up influences from My Bloody Valentine and Wire along the way.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the LP is TOY’s ability to blend all the influences they’ve picked up from their vast record collection into something which sounds fresh and new, yet which still has a soupcon of nostalgia, enough familiarity to cling onto without it sounded old and worn. What’s certain is that TOY have created one of the albums of the year and, for at least for three of them, have finally banished the ghost of Joe Lean.
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