Strongly tipped Londoners deliver their stunning debut album.
Camilla Pia 2012
The less said about three of TOY’s previous dabbling, as the Jing Jang Jong to almost indie icon Joe Lean, the better. A youthful blunder, by all accounts. Besides, it’s more worthwhile to forget their murky past and focus on the scintillating, smart psych rock they’re currently making.
In a recent interview with The Fly, the moody troupe led by bewitching-looking frontman Tom Dougall promised to deliver a new album every year. Oh TOY, please do. This debut is all creepy, crawly kinds of fun, and we already want more.
Remember how it took The Horrors two records to dig deeper emotionally, embrace glorious melody and add ambitious experimentation to their vitriolic goth-backed-into-a-corner squall? This lot have done it in one. TOY is a carefully crafted kaleidoscopic whirl of playfully skipping basslines, muted motorik beats, roaring riffs and epic choruses that explode seemingly from nowhere.
It’s a record to obsess over from the off. Colours Running Out is an intoxicatingly nimble opener, Reasons Why shows the band hitting hazy melancholy heights with Dougall singing, “Teary eyed, I feel I must pass you by”. Dead & Gone then ensnares us quite subtly before hurtling towards a ferociously thrilling climax, and that’s all before recent singles Motoring and Lose My Way work their intoxicating menacing magic. Both dig sonic claws in tight, refusing to loosen their grip.
My Heart Skips a Beat is another standout – soaring Cure-like, close-your-eyes-and-blub-with-joy music – but there’s more greatness still. Ballad Walk Up to Me wilts like a dying rose, and Kopte is almost 10 minutes of wonderfully crashing attack. The record’s peppered instrumentals – the fragile Omni, the demonically atmospheric Drifting Deeper – hint at exciting future explorations to come.
TOY does what you want all debuts to do. It pays homage to legends past (in this case, all those clever Krautrockers), nods to great recent mentors (hello The Horrors), and then struts its own stuff rather majestically. It’s the sound of a band finally getting to grips with what they’re great at, and bursting with ideas about where to take it next. Now go play.