Live review: TOY at Tut’s, 27/2/14

_01A6398Difficult second album syndrome has taken the life of many a would be giants, an act still caught up in the glory of a well received first release crash and burn soon at this point.

Looking to veer away from such sad and unfortunate events transpiring are TOY, the Brighton quintet showing up at Tut’s tonight to showcase batches of new LP Join The Dots.

Unjustly, and inaccurately labeled in some quarters as ‘a Korg Delta led five-piece’ TOY last appeared in Glasgow at Sleazy’s a couple of years back, sweeping away those in attendance that night, ridiculing such simplification of a band seemingly going places.

Going places they may well be, as unlike their previous visit this gig is packed to rafters (much eye fluttering required) and in the higher capacity glory that is King Tut’s.

Opening a set with a eight minute instrumental alone deserves kudos or whatever silly name for balls or points the kids down with it are using at the moment; as the new album’s opener – ‘Conductor’ seems a logical starting point.

Following on from the shock of eight whole earthly minutes without any vocals we’re treated to the punky recklessness of ‘Colours Running Out’, its roaring riffs suitably awakening any of those in the venue who may have nodded off to the evenings opening soundscape.

Speaking of which, there is an amusing dolly mixture of could be 12 year old and could have borne several 12 year old. Indeed, perhaps as a direct consequence, crowd response is as minimal as you’re likely to witness down St. Vincent Street way.

That’s not to say the attendees aren’t pleased with their lot, just simply lost in a Velvet Underground inspired haze while nodding approvingly along, with small pauses to sip from everyone’s favourite plastic cups.

‘Too Far Gone To Know’ provides one of both the set and new LP’s stand-out moments, wave after wave of synths crashing along to singer-guitarist Tom Dougall’s wails; standing centre stage dressed head to toe in black Dougall is backed by a band barely visible beneath shaggy mops.

If one was to be hyper critical then it could be said the band have yet to truly establish the sort of stage presence that is associated with rock ‘n’ roll greats, but then TOY are all about the music, why waste time and energy on needless schtick and bravado?

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All energy is instead focused on replicating all of the nooks and subtleties found on record, ‘Dead & Gone’ and ‘Kopter’ provide Glasgow with a timely reminder of these subtleties, each reverberating around the walls a full nine minutes a piece complete with droning jam outro.

In a rare instance of crowd interaction ‘It’s Been So Long’ is introduced as “our new single” before the shackles are taken off for ‘Fall Out Of Love’, a track which slowly builds to a fantastic climax with motorik beats complimenting pounding drums to reach a melodramatic conclusion.

This new number garners more of a response from them plastic cup sipping types than anything else to date and it’s clear everyone is now locked in.

Previous album favourites ‘Motoring’ and ‘My Heart Skips A Beat’ help to round off a fine 80 minutes of Krautrock inspired pieces the washes of guitar enhanced with hypnotic loops; prior to exiting the Tut’s stage we are treated to one last number and another highlight of the set, the new album’s titular song.

‘Join The Dots’ is a worthy closer, appropriately showcasing what TOY are all about; everyone is pleased to be caught up in this wall of sound, toxic feedback noise, a brain frying psychedelic maelstrom of sonic manipulation.

Difficult second album syndrome? The report card should read instead: progressing along nicely while remaining true to themselves, hopefully a long time yet before TOY see the need to seek a more mainstream audience with output of a lesser and more cynical quality.

Having previously promised to release an album each year we can only hope they stick to such lofty ambitions without diluting the standard they currently have.

More Photos

Words: Andy Quigley
Photos: Sandy Gibson

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