In London in particular, Toy are a band that have managed to uproot themselves from the platoon of bands that nod their heads to 70s Krautrock and wear tight, black skinny jeans, ultimately shining more than their counterparts. Following the release of their critically acclaimed second album, ‘Join The Dots’, Toy are on the ascent, developing their sound beyond the cleverly crafted noise of their self-titled debut and ushering in the fans along with it. So, it’s no surprise to see Banquet Records contents filled to brimming point even more so when you consider Toy are playing venues like the 2000 capacity Shepherds Bush Empire with ease.
As a result of this I end up crammed somewhere between the door and Grimes’ Visions, with just the back of revellers lank locks for view I decide to indulge in a Toy gig the only way it should be done: via the ears. It’s hard to decide what pocket Toy should be placed in; are they shoegaze? Are they psychedelic? Are they a cooking pot of post-punk goth motorik? The London quintet weave together so many genres it’s hard to pin them down as one characterisation in itself.
Drawing out their four song set to something that seemed much longer and indulgent, Dominic Dair’s guitar creates a lush, sonic landscape that careens its way through tracks including the mesmerising opener of ‘Conductor’ right down to show closer ‘Join The Dots’ aided primarily by Charlie Salvidge’s adequately steadfast drumming. Tom Dougall has the perfect voice for this unit: it snakes dreamily through each track, crooning tenderly behind his bandmates craftsmanship. Sometimes you don’t even realise he is singing because it seems to melt and merge into the wall of sound Toy are so adept at making.
Whilst some people may have craved for more than just four songs, I think Toy made a perceptive decision in giving people a smaller sample of their evolving sound. Tonight, Toy sounded magical, their audiovisual antics drawing curious revellers walking Kingston’s streets to stop, turn around and loiter outside the store to listen is only a premature sign of a band that can only carry on developing and enhancing their sound.