Infinite Shuffle

April 10, 2014

202 – TOY

Filed under: England, T — assman41 @ 11:55 am

Invariably, the first thing I do when I hear a new band is start trying to figure out who it sounds like. It’s like second nature — What older groups influenced this one? What newer groups would be considered contemporaries? What is the list of bands that would give the clearest idea of what to expect from this new group?

And, as one might expect, this process revolves almost solely around sound — the aural aesthetic.

But when I first heard the latest offering from the band, TOY, my mind wandered not to who they sounded like but more who they felt like. And quickly it turned into, “When I listen to this group, what other bands do I want to listen to next?”

The immediate answer to that question was Guided By Voices, but a couple of other bands I tossed around were Yuck and Elf Power. Looked at individually, these bands don’t necessarily have a lot in common. But for me, personally, there’s some indescribable link — I find myself drifting into the same mindspace whenever I listen to one of these groups. And now I’ve found another conduit in TOY.

It’s difficult to find any obvious similarities between TOY and the other aforementioned bands. Really, there aren’t many. And whatever those may be are quickly twisted into an elongated psychedelic haze.

I wrote briefly about this up-and-coming five piece from Brighton, England, more than a year ago after seeing it on a bunch of Best of 2012 lists. My description then still holds up:

“Combining the best of shoegaze and psychedelia, TOY churns out some very drony, hypnotic tunes that are likely to put you to sleep.”

As it just so happens, the last couple of times I listened to their second album, Join the Dots, it really did put me to sleep. But that’s not a bad thing. The music is just very soothing and great to have on in the background, ready to be focused upon whenever your ears are ready and willing. (Also, I was listening to it around 2 a.m., so I was just asking to be lulled into a dream state.)

I’m not usually a big fan of psychedelia, but this band manages just enough flourishes to keep me interested. As one Amazon reviewer aptly put it, TOY are basically a palatable version of Tame Impala.

And despite its lazy sound, it turns out the group is rather ambitious, intending to release an album every calendar year. It barely made its 2013 deadline, dropping Join the Dots in early December. But TOY are already planning to put out a live album and EP at some point this year.

They’re currently touring in Europe but do have a few dates in late April-early May planned for the States. However, unless you’ll be on the West Coast or in Austin or New York at the time, you’re out of luck.

So, I guess you’re stuck checking them out via the interwebs. Here’s the entire album in one hourlong clip.

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