sat 20/07/2024

CD: TOY - Clear Shot | reviews, news & interviews

CD: TOY - Clear Shot

CD: TOY - Clear Shot

A dive back into an under-appreciated phase of British psychedelia

'Eerie, yes, but also very lovely'

There's an eeriness about this record that comes of it being so very perfectly anachronistic. TOY have formerly mined various parts of experimental rock history, notably Krautrock, and on their collaboration with Natasha “Bat For Lashes” Khan, some wild psychedelic rock from all corners of the planet.

And certainly you can hear the chug of 1970s Dusseldorf sublimated into the grooves here on their third album – but the overwhelming sense is that this record exists somewhere around 1988 or 1989, back when indie truly meant indie.

Yes, that does mean there's a feyness and reticence to the playing and singing, but back in the late Eighties, indie was a stranger beast than the cliches of shy boys and girls with floppy fringes, breton tops and jangly guitars would allow. The bands that echo through TOY's songs here – shoegazers like Slowdive and Chapterhouse, but also one-offs like Felt, Loop, Levitation, Dr Phibes & The House of Wax Equations – were the British psychedelia of their time, their structures and playing drifting from slightly depressive earthbound concerns into some very strange imaginative spaces, and that's precisely what TOY achieve here.

It's that sad and lovely narcotic feel that makes the magic work. This record could so easily sound like pastiche, so totally is it rooted in that particular time – but because it is faithful not just to the guitar fuzz, Farfisa organ buzz and moaned vocals, but to that sense of inner space exploration, its retro-ness is all part and parcel with its general strangeness. And like the best of its inspirations, though on first glance it seems diffident and withdrawn, very often TOY's songs can really soar. Eerie, yes, but also very lovely.


Overleaf: listen to 'Fast Silver' by TOY

It's that sad and lovely narcotic feel that makes the magic work


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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