It helps to understand that TOY don’t sleep. They’re indefatigable and this gives them both a searing clarity of vision and a shattered confusion of mind. ‘Clear Shot’ (released on Heavenly Recordings) sounds like a Beefheart corruption but this magnificent third album represents the band’s fullest interrogation yet of more local, rain drenched and mushroom speckled Anglo-mystic roots.
Taking inspiration from an esoteric blend - Radiophonic Workshop, Comus, the scores of Bernard Herrmann, John Barry and Ennio Morricone, Fairport, COUM, acid house, Incredible String Band, The Langley Schools Project, ‘The Wicker Man’ soundtrack and even the direction behind ‘Electric Eden’, Rob Young’s book about the development of folk music in the UK - by the time they entered Eve Studios in Stockport in October 2015 with producer David Wrench, the band were clear about the direction the album should take.
The result is TOY’s most coherent and confident album to date; lushly cinematic, shot through with their most expressive melodies thus far and coated with a ‘sheen’ courtesy of Chris Coady (Beach House, Smith Westerns, Yeah Yeah Yeahs), who mixed the album in LA with some of the reverbs and vocal processors used on ‘Purple Rain’. Across the 10 tracks strands of ideas appear, sink and re-emerge in an almost modal jazz manner.
‘Clear Shot’ sees TOY working both in bigger colours and more minutely crafted detail, achieving an altogether higher level of artistry than before.