Featuring three former members of Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong and hyped to the max with constant comparisons to The Horrors, you may not have high expectations for TOY. However, following two successful singles there is much hype surrounding the London-based five-piece’s self-titled debut.
You can clearly hear the influences of psychedelia, krautrock and shoegaze – notably My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless – throughout TOY. Opening track Colour’s Running Out sets the tone for the rest of the album with its moody yet mesmerising sound.
The Reasons Why follows in a similar vein with its dark, psychedelic tones which make for an interesting listen. The slow paced Dead and Gone thankfully picks up the tempo before the end and bursts into an explosion of sound.
Recent single Lose My Way, with its Horrors-style vocals, is a highlight and shows the band’s softer side, while the swooning My Heart Skips a Beat is a psychedelic ballad with its smooth vocals. A few instrumentals also feature: from the delicate Omni and impressive Drifting Deeper, their places are justified by displaying the band’s diverse range.
Album closer Kopter truly showcases TOY’s collective talents: the euphoric sound – comprising of mesmerizing synths, loud pulsating drums and gauzy guitars – makes for a captivating, albeit lengthy, final note.
Overall though, TOY is a mellow offering, often crying out for more of the aggression only teased at throughout the album. This five-piece could have been easily written off as wannabes, a few years too late on the scene with their big hair, skinny jeans and paisley shirts.
However, there’s something special which keeps them apart from the countless other alt-rock bands on the scene: their desire and intuition to not just copy what has gone before, but to make it their own.