Published Dec 09, 2013When Toy appeared last year, they were at the forefront of a burgeoning British psychedelic scene. Twelve months later and the list of bands that could be considered part of that movement has expanded noticeably. That's part of the problem for Toy, because not much has changed for them in that time. Their sophomore effort, Join The Dots, has very little in the way of ambition on display, as if the band is quite happy with the status quo.
It starts out promisingly with "Conductor," a behemoth of an instrumental that settles into a wonderful Krautrock groove before continuing to build for its seven-minute duration. But when they switch over to song mode, things get stale quickly. Part of it is due to singer Tom Dougall's flat delivery, but their other enemy is time. When given the space to add a psychedelic freak out mid-song — as on the title-track — Toy really excel, taking things in an interesting direction.
The shorter songs, however, feel more claustrophobic, with the band struggling to stamp their personality on the proceedings. That translates into a pleasant enough album, but when it comes down to it, Toy are much more appealing when they soar rather than tread water. (Heavenly)