TOY: Join the Dots (Heavenly Recordings)
LP / CD / LP
8 / 10
Released December 9th
The London psychedelic five-piece TOY deliver another stunning album, produced (like last year’s debut) by Dan Carey.
It makes sense that Heavenly Recordings’ main-man, Jeff Barrett brought us sonic terrorists, Loop (who are currently enjoying a revival, as well as some long overdue recognition), via his former label, Head. 25 years later he gives us Join the Dots by TOY, which like many of Loop‘s records, wears its krautrock influences on its sleeve. Not that the two bands are similar in an obvious way. But the repetition element is there, as are the nods to Can and the darker shades of the psychedelic spectrum.
In a similar way to Stereolab, TOY balance spaced-out and atmospheric synth effects with good songwriting and with an ability to conjure up strong melodies over the dreamy soundscapes. And there’s obviously been a great deal of thought put into production and mixing and because of this the layers of effects come across clear, with a high sound quality.
TOY also have a way of controlling and channelling noise, as opposed to noise for the sake of it. Check out the second part of Fall Out of Love, which is essentially built around a single note: it works.
They have a good understanding of build-ups, and these builds and drops are executed wonderfully. This is particularly evident on the lead single and title track, which really doesn’t feel like it lasts for eight minutes. Again, effective arrangements, controlled build-ups, highs and lows and a strong melody help to keep it flowing. It’s very easy to get this kind of thing wrong and simply blurt out a load of noise with no direction, but this is certainly not true in TOY’s case, and so Join The Dots works well as an album, making you want to hear it as a complete piece of music.
All words by Arash Torabi whose author’s archive can be found here.