LIVE REVIEW: Toy, Glass Towers @ Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (19/06/13)

DS Featured Imagetoy

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


by Chris Familton

Highly touted by the UK press and championed by The Horrors, this London quintet continue the English tradition of exploratory psychedelic rock music with mixed but generally good results.

TOY aren’t beholden to a singular sound or style and that makes their debut album feel like a ranging, searching collection of songs. From the indie pop classicism of Reasons Why to the swirling psych of Lose My Way and outward to the stars with the space rock of Kopter, they show they can knock up catchy melodies as effectively as they compose epic instrumentals. While the diversity makes the hour long record pass quickly it does reveal some weak moments. TOY are most effective when they aim big and create a grandiose sound and this is music that should have elements of drama and indulgence. When they take the direct route, as they do on Walk Up To Me they begin to sound dreary and uninspired.

TOY are a worthy addition to the canon of ‘head music’ that includes Can, Jesus & Mary Chain, Portishead and Spiritualized and there is plenty on their debut to suggest they’ll continue on to greater heights.

this review was first published on Fasterlouder

Song Of The Week: Toy | Left Myself Behind

I’ve been on a bit of a shoe gaze vibe of late, what with the My Bloody Valentine reissues, an interview with Ride’s Mark Gardener and the excellent gig from The Horrors earlier in the year. The influence of that sound from the late 80s / early 90s is still resonating in the music of a ton of new bands and one that I’ve come across is London’s Toy. They throw some wonderful krautrock rhythms, psychedelic and prog tendencies into their arrangements and they do it all with a sense of poise and style that belies their age. This is their first single Left Myself Behind which they’ve followed up recently with Motoring.

TOY will release their debut album in September 2012.

TOY is a Korg Delta led five-piece formed in 2010. It consists of Tom Dougall (Vox/Guitars), Dominic O’Dair (Guitars), Maxim Barron (Bass/Vox), Alejandra Diez (Synthesizers/Modulation) and Charlie Salvidge (Drums/Vox).