x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Toy Join the Dots (Heavenly) ⋆⋆⋆

There's a likable levity to the psychedelic rock quintet's oppressively loud wall of sound.

This must be an evocative time of year for Toy. The psychedelic rock quintet from Brighton, UK, formed in 2010 from the ashes of the curiously named Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong, a poppier concern who made a promising showing in the BBC’s prestigious Sound of 2008 poll at the turn of that year, which then worked out rather better for their follow nominee, Adele. The new band is a more serious long-term proposition, although there is also a likeable levity to their often oppressively loud wall of sound. While the general mood on album two is dense and murky, with Tom Dougall’s monotone vocals buried deep within the mix, that old pop sensibility is evident throughout. There are nods to fellow warped melody merchants The Velvet Underground (on You Won’t Be the Same), Stereolab (Join the Dots), and Mogwai, on the atmospheric opener Conductor. That seven-minute instrumental is one of two genuine epics that bookend the album, the closer being Fall Out of Love, a rollicking 10-minute rock ‘n’ roll roller coaster. Exhilarating, exhausting, it’s well worth experiencing.