A resurgent Toy came to play hard and convince any doubters of their serious intent, Getintothis’ Jamie Bowman affirms their credentials.
IT’S easy to be cynical about TOY – one of the finest British bands to emerge in recent times.
Mutterings about three of the members’ previous roles in over-hyped flops Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong combined with a general snottiness about their swift rise to the top has meant that the Brighton five piece have been seen in some quarters as a lightweight substitute filling in until their friends The Horrors return to the fray.
But as latest album Join The Dots proves, TOY are a determinedly angry, and on tonight’s evidence, an increasingly confident lot, far from the shimmering wet lettuces of the original shoegazers they are so often compared to.
The proof is there in tonight’s opener Conductor which begins with a pummelling Cure-esque bassline before cascading into a layered Hawkwind groove for about eight minutes.
As statements of intent go it’s a powerful one and instantly seems to win over a few of the more questioning elder heads in tonight’s packed EVAC crowd.
Toy live at East Village Arts Club, Liverpool
Second number Colours Running Out proves TOY can do pop too – sounding not unlike Wire‘s Colin Newman, singer Tom Dougall deadpans his way round this handsome mess of new wave synths, abrupt time signatures and a melody borrowed from the Damned’s Smash It Up.
Key to this is ice maiden Alejandra Diez whose synth rumbles gives the band a pleasingly Teutonic feel – it’s like she’s been borrowed from The Fall and forgotten to be given back.
This melodic sensibility could be TOY’s trump card and the thing which moves them away from their fellow neo-psychedelicists. It’s there too on the gorgeous My Heart Skips A Beat which has the lazy wooziness of leisure-ear Blur and the lyrical simplicity of Ride (“it’s easier to let it slide, and wake up when I’m in full flight”).
But while their way with a tune is impressive, it’s when TOY stretch out and set their controls for the heart of the sun when they really leave an impression.
Debut single Left Myself Behind is an epic blast of peaks and crescendos, which somehow sounds like Stereolab and the Stooges and when they close their set with a thunderous Join The Dots we’re left in no doubt that this is a wall of sound that shows little sign of crumbling any time soon.
Suppport on the night was provided by the Proper Ornaments
Pictures by Getintothis’ Gaz Jones
Further reading on Getintothis:
Toy at Liverpool Sound City 2013
Proper Ornaments support Crystal Stilts at Shipping Forecast, Liverpool
Parquet Courts set for Liverpool summer outing at Kazimier.
Brian Jonestown Massacre to decamp in East Village Arts Club.
Andrew WK to party hard in Liverpool’s East Village Arts Club.
Getintothis‘ GiT Awards 2014 Nominee shortlist
Getintothis’ Top 50 Records of 2013: 50-31
Getintothis’ Top 50 Albums that didn’t make it into the Top 50 albums