Three of this 5-piece used to be part of the much-hyped band Joe Lean and the Jing, Jang, Jong, who dissolved into the indie ether in 2009. In 2010, those that broke away formed a Gothic, krautrocking band a million miles away from Joe Lean’s jangly ideals.
Date: February 22, 2014
There’s a brief moment midway through Toy’s claustrophobic set where a pop song threatens to break out. Amidst a rich tapestry of dense, taut, dark and mysterious psychedelia, emerging from the mist like a gleaming gem is Toy’s 2011 single, My Heart Skips a Beat, mashing the typical British indie values of the Charlatans with the shoegazing style of Swim Deep, only drenched in ear-shredding noise.
It’s a timely break in the band’s crepuscular motorik krautrock, which begins with the multi-layered wall of noiserock which is Conductor and ends with the chaotic swell of Join The Dots, a distillation of every genre they’ve been tagged with.
You see the four hirsute, high cheekboned young men and one muted female are something of an enigma. They don’t sit comfortably in any genre, and fidget like The Horrors with gothic ants in their pants when you attempt to categorise them such is their diversity.
Shoegazing, psychedelia, post-rock, goth and postpunk are all genres which journalists and reviewers have used to describe them, all of which are fair comment, but it’s those comparisons to The Horrors which are most accurate.
The androgynous, black-clad 5-piece use amped up hypnotic rhythms, while Tom Dougall’s dolorous growl provides yet another layer of somnolence.
Now 4 years old, Toy still feel new (or should that be Neu!?), but it’s another early single Motoring, a song packed with insistent cymbal patter, chugging guitar riffs and a propulsive bass, which stands out. Loud, caliginous and un-pigeonholeable, Toy’s Neu! adventures in hi-fi is sludgy, intense and utterly compelling.