18 November - 31 December
Album Of The Year Exhibition 2013
December 11, 7:00pm
BUY TOY'S NEW ALBUM 'JOIN THE DOTS' FROM MONDAY 9th DECEMBER AT ROUGH TRADE EAST AND COLLECT YOUR WRISTBAND AT THE SAME TIME OR PRE-ORDER THE TOY BUNDLE ONLINE NOW
Formed in 2010 in London, Toy is Tom Dougall (vocals, guitar), Dominic O'Dair (guitars), Panda (bass, vocals), Alejandra Diez (synths) and Charlie Salvidge (drums). Steered by an ambition to make music with close, likeminded friends, Toy have quickly established a sound that is as modernistic as it is faithful to the spirit of psychedelia of decades past. Marrying sophisticated chord progressions with a cornucopia of effects, enigmatic lyricism and driving Motorik rhythms, Toy's songwriting is very much a communal effort: lyrics are contributed by Dougall, Panda and Salvidge; songs are born and evolve from each individual's chords, basslines, synth motifs or drum patterns; and themes and textures developed with a democratic 'best idea wins' policy.
Initially layering up tracks accompanied by a drum machine, Toy spent their first nine months demoing rough versions of the songs that would appear on their first single, 'Left Myself Behind', and self-titled debut album. Signed to Heavenly Recordings by Jeff Barrett after an early performance at The Shacklewell Arms, East London, Toy soon took up a four-week residency at the same venue, honing an uptempo and rambunctious live show augmented by a smoke machine and lasers with the zest of a twenty-first century Exploding Plastic Inevitable.
To help capture the otherworldliness and energy of the shows, Toy brought the lighting rig into producer Dan Carey's studio to accompany the recording of their debut, Toy (2012). Captured largely live with all five members playing at once, each instrument provides its own raucous, revolving melodies, from the eerie, phased string sounds of Diez's Korg Delta, to the precision shivering of Salvidge's drum fills. Featuring the singles 'Motoring', 'Lose My Way', 'Make It Mine' and 'My Heart Skips A Beat', Toy is an assured statement of intent: a collection of rapturous noise experiments with a pop sensibility, peppered with instrumental passages that are both calculated and primal in their execution.
Whilst promoting the album, Toy have toured extensively, including headline sets in the UK, Europe, Japan and Australia; a multitude of festival appearances including the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury 2013; and supporting slots for The Horrors, The Vaccines and British Sea Power, amongst others. The band admit to enjoying playing late at night to people in altered states, and in turn the tracks are frequently altered: instrumental sections in particular are structured freely, enabling the band to exploit the bleed and feedback of each venue to produce endless variations of the same songs.
This appetite for reinvention and prolificacy is mirrored in the band's ambition to release a new record every year - a wish currently achieved with the arrival of Join The Dots, released by Heavenly in December 2013. As with their debut, Join The Dots was recorded mostly live with Carey at the helm, although increased studio time has enabled the band to experiment more with Carey's laboratory of effects and pre-amps, and embellish the tracks with overdubs. The album is both a companion to and extension of the electric blueprint plotted out on Toy, filled as it is with increasingly unpredictable, illuminating sonic ideas and songs that shift and transform with seemingly effortless intricacy. Underpinned by Teutonic, euphonic bass and drums, Dougall and O'Dair's Fenders blend seamlessly through abstract swathes of distortion and delay - and likewise the lyrics are intentionally veiled, creating an aural agelessness that transcends comparisons with other bands past or present.
Following the release of Join The Dots, Toy will embark on another headline UK and European tour in spring 2014, and hope to release their third studio album before the end of the same year. Plans are also afoot for a Carey-recorded live album and a more unconventional, noise-charged EP - a testament to Toy's irrepressible inventiveness and determination to emblazon their music on the eardrums of new audiences.