TOY / Charlie Boyer And The Voyeurs
Manchester Ruby Lounge
Oct 28th 2012

Live Review

This is more than a gig – it’s like a media event!

TOY are bang smack in the middle of a media whirlwind – the hippest band in town who transcend the attention by being really good.

It seems like the whole of the BBC is here tonight to see them play and the press buzz has been intense. The band’s swirling psychedelic take on the stripped down Neu motorik 4/4 drum patterns that have been honed to a highly effective whole on their debut album that has made them hit the critical bullseye.

Since forming from the ashes of Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong with three of the five piece, Tom Dougall (singer), Maxim Barron (bass) and Dominic O’Dair (guitar), coming from the nearly made it outfit, TOY have been in first gear.

The band have been exploring this very modern take on psych and drone with great results and tonight’s hypnotic show is a perfect exercise in 21st mind bending drone rock. It hints at the long lost shoe gazing scene, some of the fringe darkness of the Goth bands, the love of guitars of attitude indie but crosses them with a rhythmic propulsion that makes it far more effective than that long lost scene.

In a flurry of flailing Jacobite cavalier hair the band own the stage with Tom Dougall sporting one of those fine regency mid-’60s Dave Davies barnets and Dominic O’Dair (maybe having to re-christan himself Dominic O’Hair) with the finest on-stage hair cut I’ve seen for a long time.

The band build up their several layers of drone rock into truly tripped out masterpieces with the kind of incessant layering that has underscored their best mates The Horrors last two albums. There is the same sort of driving bass backbones and guitars that switch from noise to these mind-blowing bits of looping sound. Krautrock is part of the bands DNA with that scene’s better-known bands love of repetition of driving simple beats has created a framework for their exploration.

Dark and moody, with swirling guitars and the ever hypnotic keyboards, the band build up a mesmerising wall of sound that is truly effective. Their live show is like a machine – a wall of mind bending sound and their impact has been quick with early singles ‘Left Myself Behind’ and ‘Motoring’ that were picked up by the underground web community (like this website) and the buzz grew quickly.

Support band Charlie Boyer And The Voyeurs are yet another example of the rise of a whole new generation of great young bands. A recently formed band who are on the fast track to breaking out they formed, initially as a side project from LTW faves Electricity In Our Homes. Frustrated by that band’s lack of progress and slowing down, frontman Charlie Boyer put together his new outfit.

Whereas Electricity In Our Homes initial sound shocks were discordant neo Death To Trad Rock rushes before settling on an almost Syd Barrett psych pop the new outfit is a stripped down wall of sound, perfect, guitar pop – sort of like Jesus And Mary Chain at their three chord finest.

The set is full of majestic songs and the band very much have that upward swing about them. They could be the soundtrack to 2013 and they already have the songs, the sense of purpose and the powerful anthemic songs to make this happen.

These are two bands who are very much the sound of now, taking slivers and hints of the past and reinventing them for the future and making the sort of noisy, life-affirming music that has the rush of guitars and the dark backdrop that is very much part of a coming scene of bands that have all started to operate in the space created by The Horrors.

These are interesting times.

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