TOY – Join The Dots

More cosmic, a bit more kosmische even, heading skywards and dragging you with it.

Fast workers, TOY. Just over a year since their debut and now a second album has arrived. They’ve never really even disappeared from view during that period. No unexplained absences. No long holidays. No six month retreats to exotic climes to weave yoghurt and find themselves. Just a bunch of gigs.

It does mean that presumably the list of additional experiences which could have informed this record must be quite small. It’s definitely the case that ‘Join The Dots’ sounds an awful lot like a band who’ve spent quite a lot time recently listening to TOY.

It has the same sense of momentum as the debut. Songs pound onwards, elliptical guitar lines wrapping round and round, and there’s an all encompassing feeling of travelling vast distances. Relentlessly, confidently and quite, quite spectacularly.

Although it starts a bit slow. ‘You Won’t Be The Same’ and ‘As We Turn’ don’t quite live up to expectations. A bit jangly and a bit more earthbound then you might expect (or indeed, want). There’s even a hint more emotion in Tom Dougall’s vocals, whereas TOY work far better when he plays the role of unimpressed onlooker. Like the ape in 2001 standing around going “really guys? It’s just a bit of fucking stone”.

There is something brilliant about his unimpassioned delivery next to the furious noise the band around him creates. On the title track there’s seven plus minutes of it: a call-and-response setup of multiple maelstroms of vapour-trail guitars that pause for appreciation, only to be met with another seen it all before verse. Seven plus minutes, it has to be said, that doesn’t drag for a second.

It is at that point in proceedings that ‘Join The Dots’ soars. More cosmic, a bit more kosmische even, heading skywards and dragging you with it.

‘Endlessly’ is slightly pensive while still driving along on a krautrock rhythm. ‘It’s Been So Long’ straps a lovely melodic sensibility to a incessantly jackhammering bassline, while ‘Fall Out Of Love’ may be the best thing TOY have yet done. Dougall momentarily morphs into Marc Bolan and his colleagues go glammy, before the whole thing climaxes in magnificent widescreen fashion.

So while TOY may be fast workers, they’ve also got a faintly astonishing level of quality control. It’s fair to say ‘Join The Dots’ would have been worth a far, far longer wait.

Tags: TOY, Reviews, Album Reviews

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