The vast majority of indie fans were introduced to Toy, perhaps unwittingly, when they supported The Horrors earlier this year across a multitude of dates on their nationwide tour. My first experience of Toy came at one off Horrors show at Bethenal Green boxing club. It was a surreal gig, with horrific acoustics, and I was with a friend who’d never heard of The Horrors, so naturally enough, he asked me: “What Do The Horrors Sound Like?” My response was simple, I pointed to the stage and said “well, exactly like this lot, but louder and polished”.
Judging by the post-set conversation it appeared that everyone in attendance that night had spotted the similarity. On record the comparisons come naturally, Toy have a preponderance toward sawing guitar effects and deadpan indie vocals that evoke memories of both ghoulish Horror punk and 80’s romanticism. Even the tumbling drums that power the excellent “Left Myself Behind” scream Horrors before the band’s guitars burst out towards a sunnier, post-Cure, disposition. Still, the band are in good company, The Horrors are still a record collector rock band, albeit ambition one, so the whole notion of “stealing” their sound is a complete misnomer, and with tracks as instantly engaging as “Left Myself Behind” and “Clock Chime” who really cares?
Stoic onstage Tom Dougall (vocals/vox), Dominic O’Dair (guitar), Maxim Barron (bass/vox), Alejandra Diez (synths) and Charlie Salvidge (drums) have more problems than nagging Horrors comparisons to overcome, they are about to step foot into a market already dominated by S.C.U.M. Still at least a niche exists and the relentless sonic barrage that concludes “Left Myself Behind” should help the band stand out on record, even if seemingly every indie band in existence has decided that creating one great imposing wall of noise is perfect way to end a live show (it’s not by the way). David Hayter
The Buzz: Big things are expected from Toy in 2012, as they enter a crowded market led by the imperious Horrors.
For Fans Of: The Horrors, S.C.U.M., Health and Sonic Youth.