TOY: Clear Shot (Heavenly) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, December 5th, 2023  


Clear Shot


Nov 07, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

On their third album overall and first since 2013’s Join the Dots, which got them more notoriety in the U.S. than their 2012 eponymous debut album did, the British band TOY don’t change around the formula that they’ve worked hard to cultivate since their formation in 2010. This is despite the 2015 departure of keyboardist Alejandra Diez in favor of Proper Ornaments guitarist Max Oscarnold. Though Oscarnold plays keyboards here, it feels like another guitar has been added to singer/guitarist Tom Dougall’s and the guitar of Dominic O’Dair, giving it a heavier, chunkier feel than their previous output. There are still nods to psychedelic bands past and present from songs that remind one of late ‘60s Pink Floyd (particularly on “Spirits Don’t Lie”) to a few that remind of The Church, Dougall sounding like Steve Kilbey’s younger brother at times. The album’s centerpiece is the almost 6-minute, pulsating “Dream Orchestrator,” which more than justifies the Krautrock comparisons bestowed upon them and also the closest they come on here to their own “Black Metallic” or “Dreams Burn Down” in terms of epic shoegaze rave-ups. This isn’t just a nostalgic exercise, though. They have a modern heaviness that reminds one of other 21st century acts in this style from The Black Angels to Secret Machines, but with perfect production courtesy of David Wrench. Ultimately, though, if there are any real changes, it’s not just the lack of squiggly synth lines previously provided by Diez, but that the songwriting is slightly more developed in favor of mostly shorter compositions here. It doesn’t completely click right away, but after about five or six plays, it all starts to make sense. It also helps to listen to this at night, but once it gets its claws in you, you’re hooked. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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