By now, everyone has heard of Brighton-via-London psych rock outfit TOY, and it’s for good reason. Having spent the best part of two years gigging extensively and releasing stunning, limited-edition singles all eyes are on the five-piece’s self-titled debut.
As a band who have been supported by friends and fellow alt-rock musicians The Horrors, it is interesting that track one, ‘Colour’s Running Out’ bears a strange reminiscence to their seminal track ‘Sea Within A Sea’ in its drumbeats, but this is not a bad thing. ‘The Reasons Why’ is slower and less visceral than the sounds prominent in the band’s live set, but the sprawling bass is smooth with Tom Dougall’s moody, reflective vocals. This is a song which could be considered a ‘game changer’; this album is not a collection of TOY’s past efforts, but a progression even further into their own individual sound.
‘Dead and Gone’ starts off sounding like a re-imagination of Blur’s ‘Coffee and TV’, however both the vocals and synth sounds are lost amidst an unending drum beat- something that could perhaps be overlooked, was the song any less than seven minutes long. Luckily the pace is immediately quickened with the Velvet Underground-influenced ‘Lose My Way’ which is warm, romantic, and, most importantly, really catchy. ‘Heart Skips A Beat’ possesses the same autumnal charm but with a chorus that could easily be on a Radio 1 playlist before the year is done.
With ‘Strange’ comes Alejandra Diez’s time to shine, as her keys hint towards a more experimental side to TOY when contrasted with a harsh, minimal bass line within the verse. ‘Walk Up To Me’ is a more typical TOY track, with smooth, well-executed guitar lines and an encapsulating rhythm section. Closing the LP is the buzzing, pulsing ‘Kopter’, which sounds like the ultimate soundtrack to an upbeat remake of the movie ‘Lost In Translation’. A song known in their live set as one of many which gets the crowd going, it does the same In a studio capacity, and creates the sort of rush which retains the band’s hype even now they are established and proving their worth.
It happens rarely in a world where there is no specific sound to ‘pop’, and where there is so much music to choose from, but TOY are achieving the strange art of being hugely vital in the current UK scene. Anyone who remembers Arctic Monkeys’ debut being released back in 2006 will get the same feeling with this album- the anticipation, the expectations, the buzz- and most importantly, the fact that they’ve pulled it off. Here’s to watching them rise to the top.