by Chris Familton
Glass Towers have been fine tuning their brisk indie guitar tales of young love, lost and won for a couple of years and they played an almost seamless set of cascading guitar melodies and energetic enthusiasm, particularly singer/guitarist Ben Hannam who manages to combine the sound of Robert Smith, Morrissey, Alex Kapranos and Ian McCulloch in his wounded yelp. They lacked any one or two standout songs to capture the ears of the casual observers which lent their sound a certain sameness over their whole set. That aside they were an entertaining and clearly talented group with a smattering of enthusiastic fans down the front.
Toy came on in a haze of dry ice and green and pink lights, heads bowed toward their instruments through a collective curtain of hair and black jeans and proceeded to take us through their singles and a handful of tracks from their debut album. There was little interaction with the audience and no great euphoria from the crowd which explained their lack of surprise or disappointment when the band saw no need for an encore after a set that was well short of an hour in length. Regardless, Toy lived up to their reputation as dreamy exponents of propulsive, psych-leaning krautrock and post punk. When they locked into the grooves of Dead & Gone, Motoring and the autobahn post punk of Kopter they sounded genuinely thrilling and inventive, generating a sea of busily nodding heads.
As good as it sometimes was their set felt like an introductory showcase event and there was a sense they showed all the tricks they currently possess. Another album under their belt will give Toy more shape, depth and hopefully a little more edge and no doubt a return visit will show us just that. In the meantime this performance was good but by no means as immersive and transportive as their kind of music should be.
this review was first published in Drum Media and on themusic.com.au