Sep 26, 2012 Web Exclusive
Toy's name, implying a certain level of childhood fancy, is appropriate. The band's music does conjure up images of pubescent teens jamming out in their bedrooms, first instruments in hand. But one imagines that Toy's band members were never allowed the sheer decibel power that they now possess as adults. Splitting the difference between My Bloody Valentine (walls of guitars), early Sonic Youth (walls of punk-leaning guitar), and The Jesus and Mary Chain (walls of Velvet Underground-like ennui), Toy's self-titled debut bears the mark of a well-stocked record collection. (Which is a nice way of saying that with The Horrors and S.C.U.M making a splash in the last few years, chances are you've heard their tricks before.) But what their self-titled debut lacks in innovation, it makes up for in spirit, its 12 barn-burning tracks accurately capturing a sense of youthful zeitgeist.
Propelled on the hypnotic repetition of angular guitar lines and frontman Dominic O'Dair's detached vocals, album opener "Colours Running Out" sets the stage. This is a band with an arena-worthy sound, plucked directly from a garage practice space. Further tracks continue to finesse this blueprint. "Lose My Way" is a slow-burning glam anthem, wrapped around what's perhaps the most succinct declaration of teenage angst since Lloyd Dobler picked up a boom box, "You never felt the kind of pain that I went through." However, it's album highlight "My Heart Skips a Beat" that bodes best for the East London five-piece. Awash in Cure-like malaise, their heartbreak opens up into a morbidly hopeful (and downright beautiful) love ballad song. Don't let the youthful wall of noise distract you, Toy possesses some mature chops. (www.toy-band.com)
Author rating: 7.5/10
Average reader rating: 9/10