Thursday, October 20, 2016
Album Review :: TOY - Clear Shot
October 28 2016 (Heavenly Recordings)
Words: Richard O’Hagan
TOY seem to have been around for so long that it seems surprising that this is only the third long-player of their career. Perhaps that in itself is an indictment of the modern music industry, with their reluctance to give any artist more than one shot at making it big; if you get three goes then you’re practically ancient within the industry nowadays.
Full marks, then, to Heavenly for sticking with TOY for so long, even after they spent two years touring ‘Clear Shot’s predecessor. There aren’t many bands out there who are still willing to consistently push their own boundaries in the way that this one does.
Unfortunately, that drive to constantly innovate does lead to patchy results. TOY have always done two kinds of song extremely well. One kind is a sort of lightly wistful and brooding number, as exemplified by lead single ‘Fast Silver’. The other is a much darker and gloomier approach, such as on the booming ‘Jungle Games’ and album closer ‘Cinema’, a synth-driven take on the Jesus and Mary Chain.
When they depart from these models, they become less consistent. Sometimes, the outcome is pretty good – ‘I’m Still Believing’ is pure C86-style nostalgia, for example. At others, though, it results in nothing terribly special. The title track is instantly forgettable, while ‘Another Dimension’ quite literally sounds like an Embrace cast-off; and if ‘Clouds That Cover The Sun’ got any more lightweight it would blow away.
In short, there’s a certain irony in TOY naming this album ‘Clear Shot’, because it seems that even after all of these years they still don’t have a clear idea of what kind of band they want to be – other than one which never wants to stand still.