Saturday, 11 February 2012

Toy - Left Myself Behind

Hype can be a strange beast, as we're all aware. In the age of the single track download, one song can propel an artist further into a music fan's conscious than any tour-weathered band with years of output heavily piled up in record shops. Hell, the iPod mainstays nowadays don't even have their own nameboard in record shops. For those who don't spend their lives in the glare of the computer screen, these bands don't even exist.

While music lovers may like to consider themselves to be raised above the taboid-feasting freakshow of mainstream media, the past few years have spoken otherwise, with hype being as much of a hindrance as a help. Big, pushy promises from a four minute audio file can lead to pitiful full-lengths as artist's aren't given the time or help to expand and evolve.

Thankfully, there have been many exceptions to the fast-paced, fickle lifespan of a buzzband. It's early days yet, but this one in particular feels like a keeper. Step forward Toy; a miraculous concoction of shoegaze, post-punk, psych and enthralling performance, all long hair, bright lights and big noise. Only formed in 2010, the past few months have seen their name transform from small text on London's gig flyers to one of the most talked-about bands in the UK. With only a two track 12" released on Heavenly Recordings, there is always an element of fear within the rush of interest that's gathering, but this time it feels different; there is genuine excitement in the more traditional sense - people lining up to get their hands on ltd vinyl pressings not because of predictions of future eBay value, but quite simply because they really need to take a piece of the live performance home with them, as the 40 minute set just wasn't enough.

Toy have just finished a four week residency of the Shacklewell Arms, and packed out the pub every time with necks craned around the doorframe to catch a glimpse of this mesmerising sound. So if (like me) you usually shy away from the latest 'buzz band' and would rather dig a little deeper to find your sounds, for now abandon all preconceived notions and just go and see Toy live. For once the hype is justified.

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