Album Review Toy Horses - Toy Horses

Full to the brim with breezy melodies and intoxicating harmonised vocals.

What is it with Welsh bands and horses? Last year we had Race Horses; this year Toy Horses have been making plenty of noise and attracting a lot of attention whilst doing so. Another question that could be raised, as evinced by their fantastic debut, is the following: what is it with Welsh bands and their penchant for creating brilliant pop songs? There are… hmm, let’s see, ten here? Yes, that is the entire album, for those of you keeping score.

These equines are clearly thoroughbreds, their music a heady mixture of orchestral, 70s-influenced pop and just a bit of the quirkiness their compatriots Super Furry Animals are so fond of. The stepfather-and-son pair, Adam D. Franklin and Tom Williams, set out their stall straight away with the up-tempo bounce of ‘Play What You Want’, one of the most infectious album openers thus far this year, a song that displays the immense amount of charm that accompanies their music.

The album (produced by none other than ex-Wilco drummer Ken Coomer) is full to the brim with breezy melodies and intoxicating harmonised vocals, such as those featured on ‘Last Chance’, where the duo’s voices are sparsely accompanied by guitar. Proving that stripped-back doesn’t necessarily mean toned down, the song is a highlight that comes seemingly from nowhere.

It’s immediately followed, and perfectly complemented, by ‘Loyal To The Cause’, which sounds like a peppier ‘Open Season’-era British Sea Power. In fact, many of these songs work even better when paired up. One such example is the closing brace of ‘No One’s Ever Gonna Leave You’ (another superlative, fast-paced indie-pop song) and recent single ‘Interrupt’, a strings-drenched swan-song that ensures Toy Horses finish on an even higher note than they started on. They’re leagues ahead of the competition already, and the race is far from over.