Published Oct 21, 2016Sometimes you have to make the album that comes to you, not the one you thought you were making. TOY felt like producing an electronic record when they started committing Clear Shot to tape; what they ended up with is a freaky pop record that ditched the Krautrock leanings of previous offerings to the profit of more enigmatic influences.
And while they cite Disney and the Manson family when discussing inspirations, TOY are far less creepy than they think we think they are. Sure, there are a few quirks here — unexpected chord changes ("Clouds That Cover the Sun"), edgy left turns (album opener "A Clear Shot," or the descent of "Dream Orchestrator" into madness) and loads of overpowering keyboards — but beyond its eccentricities, what really sets Clear Shot apart is its volume of ever-changing, unpredictable moods. These songs are weird, but they're never unsettling.
On "Another Dimension," for instance, the group switches between an urgent verse and a trippy chorus, both equally catchy and interesting. Elsewhere, "I'm Still Believing" unpacks glassy harmonies and some detached vocals that keep us guessing in a way that's hard to pin down.
If Clear Shot was a first album, it would probably be lauded as the most promising debut since whichever the last one was. As a third album, it's an interesting station on the way to potential greatness, and it will definitively put the group on more than a few radars. Above all, on this album TOY makes us feel really excited about Brit-pop again, which itself is no small feat. (Heavenly)