By Toy Horses
Let me paint you a picture- It's a dreary, cold and wet Saturday morning, some God-awful cooking show is on the television and, as usual, I'm hung-over and can be found staggering about the house with a cigarette in one hand and a cup of super-strength coffee in the other. Eventually, my wife convinces me that I am in fact not dying and that I must crack on with doing something, and since cleaning, DIY and shopping are not my thing, I decide to listen to Toy Horses' self-titled album for this review. Now, the job of cheering me up on these kinds of mornings usually falls to Danny Baker and his trouser-stretching co-host Lynsey Hipgrave on their brilliant BBC 5-Live show, but as soon as this records opening track 'Play What You Want' kicks in; life is good again, my hang over is gone and in my head at least, the sun is shining. Even before popping in the CD the packaging is enough to make you smile, instead of tacky plastic it's made of cardboard and is designed to be like a children's book- very impressive considering that most artists don't pay much attention to this kind of thing anymore.
Once the morning blues have been banished; it hit me that Toy Horses' sound bears close (but not so close that they could be accused of ripping them off) resemblance to that of Scouting for Girls, and I liked it very much, which is strange because I HATE Scouting for Girls, to me their music is mindless, irritating, idiot-pleasing crap, in fact, if you wanted to know where I kept my WMDs, forget pliers, butcher knives, hacksaws and blowtorches, just stick me in a room and force me to listen to Scouting for Girls for 20 minutes and I'll tell you anything you want to know. Toy Horses avoid the nauseating 'she's so luv-a-lee' syndrome by having credibility in spades, it really does make all the difference, you can just tell that Adam D. Franklin and Tom Williams have put the hours in to develop their song writing and musicianship skills, and boy are they bloody good now.
I'm sure the record company (Albino Sparrow if anyone's interested) are very pleased too, because if this album doesn't turn a profit I'll eat my dog- there are songs on here for all kinds of occasions- I can definitely see myself dancing in a bar to 'No One's Ever Gonna Leave You', or sitting outside a pub on a warm summers afternoon with 'Play What You Want' wafting out of the tap room window, not to mention all of the usual make-up, break-up and exciting new love stuff, and 'Loyal to the Cause' is the perfect track for the opening scene of any movie where the unfortunate of grumpy lead character is on his way to work to do a job that he hates, and let's face it, there's no shortage of those.
If I were to search for a negative, and I really am clutching at straws here, it would be that the vocals are at times a bit generic in that lazy, British, Pete Doherty kind of way, but that's neither here or there in all honesty.
'My new favourite indie band' is how Toy Horses were described by Stephen Fry on Twitter recently; this is a man who is adored my everyone except a few far-right religious nonces and should be made, by law if necessary, to make 400 television and radio shows a day, which just shows what kind of reach and success these guys are enjoying. Toy Horses are my new favourite indie band, and if you choose to buy this album, which you should, they'll be your new favourite too. It's polished, it's accomplished, and it's the best new album I've heard from this genre in years.