Caught Sleeping: TOY- TOY
Posted in Caught Sleeping
At surface level, TOY seem no different from the legions of other burgeoning indie rock bands posting tastefully inspired jams on their Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages. On their debut self-title TOY, the band serves up a blend of krautrock, psychedelia, and post-punk; typical inspirations for an indie rock band. But what TOY does with those sounds of the past sets them apart from their contemporaries.
Equal parts Joy Division, Sonic Youth and CAN, TOY manage to take everything inaccessible about indie rock and put all into a song. Yet strangely, that noise pastiche comes out sounding like pop. Groovy, groovy pop. People don't use the word groovy much anymore, but they really should. It captures a state of being that cool just can't. It's a living word, one that continues to breathe even after it's set unto a page. TOY is groovy. Partly in the psychedelic sense, but mostly in the sense that that their music goes on to become long after it was recorded. Songs like "Motoring" and "Colours Running Out" have a living quality about them, sounding fresh even after a half-dozen successive listens.
There's no wasted sonic space in any of TOY's arrangements. The bass and drum parts are simultaneously musical and propulsive. Guitar lines are wildly tripped out at times, but always tasteful. Vocals are sung with elegant restraint. TOY's ability play difficult, musical rock without sounding gaudy or pretentious calls to mind the best work of Sonic Youth (I found myself going back and forth between TOY and Daydream Nation as I wrote this review). Every instrument fills its niche perfectly; arrangements are complex and at times challenging, but never sound busy or overstrained. Whoever mixed this album is a fucking genius, and should be trusted with the work of every record made from here on out.
There's a sense of greatness about TOY's work. That isn't a quality you can fake; it's inherent in an artists work, either there or not, and cannot be replicated or even approximated by any means. Bands like this don't come along very often, and when they do, they should be praised and cherished. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is arguably the last great album released. It's been far longer since a truly great rock record was put out (there's some room for debate here: was it Merriweather Post Pavillion? Sound of Silver? Apologies to Queen Mary?)
Every time that I listen to TOY, I'm stuck by their similarity to Sonic Youth. Part of this at surface level; the former is obviously a follower in the latters tradition. But there is a deeper. more significant connection between the two. Listening to TOY evokes the same feelings Sonic Youth inspires. Both albums are good in their own right, fully formed artistically and brimming with want-to, but leave something to be desired. They instill desire not because they are in any way bad, but because they allude to something so much more than is captured on record. Sonic Youth would improve with each subsequent release, and now rank among the pantheon of indie rock greats. TOY seems destined to follow a similar course. While waiting on TOY's sure to be great next album, give their self-title a go. It's an excellent record that deserves to be heard from start to finish, multiple times if at all possible.
- Colours Running OutTrack/ 1
- The Reason WhyTrack/ 2
- Lose My WayTrack/ 3
- MotoringTrack/ 4