Melted Toys: Melted Toys (Underwater Peoples) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Melted Toys

Melted Toys

Underwater Peoples

Sep 17, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The first song post-intro on Melted Toys' self-titled debut album, "Bummed Out," has a good chunk of instrumental which can pretty much be considered a peppy cover of The Smiths' "Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before." This marks two things for the San Francisco-sprung group, which is following up its trio-led 2011 Washed and Dried EP with the now-foursome-run Melted Toys: one, it is a derivative band; two, it sounds close to a happy version of The Smiths. Psychedelic pop is the label the foursome is most tagged with, which would never be used in the context of The Smiths, and that is largely what distinguishes this band from that one.

Mixed by Rusty Santos (Animal Collective), Melted Toys doesn't play out as distinct songs as much as it does an entire soundtrack. Not overrun with vocals, the instruments do as much of the speaking as the lyrics do. Pretty and dreamy, Melted Toys dips into shoegazer introspection, but with an upbeat attitude. Chiming is overriding sound of the cheerful guitars playing against the moody reverbs of the singer Steven Harkins' voice, exemplified on "Blush." The tone shifts on the conversely titled "Joy Fit" with pensive guitars and equally brooding vocals, but this doesn't occur often and Melted Toys remains in good spirits. Probably this is what attracted Girls' Christopher Owens to earmark Melted Toys as the support act for his solo tour last year, a nice contrast to his album Lysandre.

Although half of Melted Toys was written in Taipei, Taiwan during principal songwriter Harkins' time there, California sunshine and positivity pervade on the albuma huge contrast to The Smiths' cloudy and dreary Northern England, but still a large influence on Melted Toys. (

Author rating: 6/10

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