by Patrick Davies Contributor | Photos by facebook / Toy

Toy @ Heaven, London, 24/10/2012

'Their marriage of driving guitar and euphoric synth sounds absolutely massive'

 

Toy @ Heaven, London, 24/10/2012 Photo: facebook/Toy

Toy were formed from the ashes of indie-rockers Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong after they disbanded in 2009.

There was therefore a certain level of intrigue when - after citing creative differences as the reason for the split - three of the band's members chose to stick together and set up Toy.

The result was a change in direction that moved away from the 'ten a penny' indie sound of their previous band, in favour of something that was much more textured and spacious.

After the crowd at Heaven have been warmed up by the noisy energy of Dark Horses, Toy take to the stage in the hope of backing up the praise that has been heaped on them by reborn kraut-rockers, The Horrors.

They audaciously open with a powerfully charged version of eight-minute track, 'Dead and Gone'.

Toy's sound is built on a wall of rhythm guitar that makes them sonically massive when performing live.

The five-piece seem completely immersed in the music. Reminiscent of shoe-gazers such as My Bloody Valentine, the band's faces are invisible to audience behind their shoulder-length mops.

After many may have accused their previous project of 'trying to hard', Toy are the antithesis of this- effortlessly cool.

'Lose my Way' turns the occasion into what feels like an outdoor festival gig as the onslaught of rhythm guitar is perfectly complimented by a synth part that soars into the London sky.

The opener from Toy's self-titled debut album, 'Colours Running Out' again sounds huge. It becomes apparent that many in the audience seem to have styled themselves in the image of the band- overgrown hair dos flail around the venue as fans throw their heads back and forth.

The atmospheric rockers then stray away from the album as they launch into stand-alone single 'Left Myself Behind'. This is a track that is likely to be hugely popular with early New Order fans, and the reaction it gets suggests there are a good few out there in the audience.

Frontman, Tom Dougall, announces to the crowd "these are the last two songs", and his admission seems to immediately raise the temperature.

As Toy treat observers to the steadily building 'My Heart Skips a Beat', the song again culminates in a crescendo of synth. It suddenly transpires that many on the front row are in serious need of some hydration as venue staff rush to hand out as many bottles of water as they can find.

The set ends just as ambitiously as it started. Toy seem like a band that will never have their heads turned by sacriligeous radio edits as they end with ten-minute kraut-rock thriller, 'Kopter'.

Again the marriage of driving guitar and euphoric synth sounds absolutely massive. The band look as if they would happily continue the Kraftwerk-like rendition well into the AM if they could.

When the truly epic 'Kopter' eventually comes to an end, the moody frontman throws his guitar to the floor and simply utters: "Thanks a lot, bye."

He may be a man of few words, but tonight the music has very much done the talking.


Patrick Davies

Contributor

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