Gig review: Toy, Glasgow

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FOUR guys and a girl who look like they’re locked in some kind of long hair-growing competition, young Brighton quintet Toy honour a long and rich tradition in British psychedelic rock music for plugging in, turning up and wigging out.

Toy - King Tut’s, Glasgow

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Somewhere beneath those flowing locks, we can only hope they were all wearing ear-plugs, because the noise was loud and relentless, if relentlessly repetitive in spells.

Droney, one-chord instrumental opener Conductor saw keys player Alejandra Diez tease modulation-warped whale-like noises out of her retro synth, while guitarists Tom Dougall and Dominic O’Dair stomped the effects pedals and drummer Charlie Salvidge whacked a motorik beat.

All very powerful and persuasive, but Toy’s reluctance to leave their box, so to speak, gradually dulled the effect across the set. Dougall’s drowsy, barely-there vocals are all part of the krautrock-meets-shoegaze style, though he could try singing out more, as during Endlessly, when Toy tried a bit of melody on for size with its Sonic Youth by way of My Bloody Valentine riff and rousing chorus. It suited them. Only with My Heart Skips a Beat did they again achieve such a successful union of the cosmic and the sublime.

Still, the newer stuff was generally the best in Toy’s set, and the upwards slope is the side of the arc any band wants to be on. It was with the title track of their latest, second album Join The Dots that Toy closed. Did it finish with a final, climaxing cacophony, feedback ringing? There was never any doubt.

Seen on 27.02.14