Live Review: TOY, Bodega (22/02/14)

London-based five-piece bring their swirling, psych follow-up album, Join The Dots, to the intimacy of Nottingham’s Bodega.

Having fully emerged from the drainpipe jeans shadows of their Horrors mentors, TOY received warm praise for second album Join The Dots. Not as spectacular as their eponymous first, maybe, but Join The Dots is the work of a band bereft of identity struggle – expansive, sonically-intriguing and, occasionally, capable of a pop tune. This UK tour is their first full venture in support of it, and they arrive at a sold-out Bodega.

The Proper Ornaments kick things off. Well-executed jangly pop, yes, but it’s all a little flat. Easy, but very much relevant, comparisons to Temples are mentally noted: slick, 60s-inspired pop, with little variation nor excitement. Perfectly fine, but no more.

The Bodega was certainly treated tonight.

The night’s headliners take to the stage on time. By now, Bodega’s upstairs room is a sweat-laden mess, filled predominantly by 6Music listeners, with the odd Tom Dougall-obsessed teenage girl dotted about. Beginning with album-opener ‘Conductor’, it’s all bass, bass and more bass. Repetitive, chugging, and certainly krautrock-inspired, basslines break through the double guitar swirl, with Alejandra Diez’s synth battling for airtime. It sounds good. Very good.

From the aforementioned sophomore effort, ‘You Won’t Be The Same’ stands out: a psych-pop song hidden amongst the waves of feedback-drenched freakout. ‘Too Far Gone To Know’ is TOY at their best, beginning in a dreamy haze, then developing into the sprawling guitar noise-rock they do so well. It is, however, TOY’s first album tracks that really capture the imagination. The straight-up pop of ‘My Heart Skips A Beat’; the proto-punk fuzz of ‘Motoring’ and the primal freakout of ‘Dead & Gone’ all eclipse any second album material.

The Bodega was certainly treated tonight. TOY are, without doubt, going to be one of this musical generation’s stand-out acts. Will album three see more of the same expansive psych, or is a change in direction foreseeable? Considering the speed with which album two was released, we’ll soon find out.

Alex Neely

…Alex is listening to Happyness – Happyness EP…

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One Comment
  • R. Rooksby
    24 February 2014 at 12:01
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    Toy may have volume on their side(s), but The Proper Ornaments have SONGS.

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