According to the U.K. press, TOY are approximately the umpteenth British band said to be “saving guitar music” in 2012. It’s the kind of accolade that makes virtually anyone with half a brain want to immediately hate them. But before you let the scorn get the better of you, give their self-titled debut album a spin.
TOY would see such a claim as nonsensical and probably even defamatory. They’re used to that kind of tabloid-baiting, however. Three-fifths of the band were members of the humiliatingly named, overhyped buzz band the Jing Jang Jong, where they played the role of a whipping band for some wanker named Joe Lean. Wisely jumping ship, they formed TOY to amalgamate their blossoming love for ’60s psychedelia, Krautrock and shoegaze.
Like The Horrors’ Primary Colours, a sonic ancestor and obvious influence, TOY is presented through a kaleidoscopic lens, where the guitars and synths flood droning melodies, singer Tom Dougall croons gothy-sweet nothings and the drums are driven motorikly. And though they follow their influences by jamming and filling the space with ambient guitar noise, TOY also have some mid-’90s Britpop in their DNA (that’s a good thing). They keep most songs to a radio-edit length and cram in hooks wherever possible, best heard in the orchestral ballad “My Heart Skips a Beat” and single “Lose My Way.”
Thanks to producer Dan Carey (Yeasayer, Bat for Lashes), TOY’s debut sounds colossal and grandiose, weird and yet warm. Most of all, it fulfils their great ambitions while setting the band miles apart from all those other ones expected to save guitar music.