★★★★ Happy In The Hollow TOUGH LOVE. CD/DL/LP
Brighton psych-poppers’ fourth; a beguiling downer. FINDING THEIR previous effervescence gone flat, Toy’s latest betrays a newfound bleakness in their least-anthemic set yet. But the downcast ruminations of Happy In The Hollow locate a fine new voice in the album’s haunted pop, plangent treated guitars and Tom Dougall’s wan, deadpan vocals. Some of their erstwhile vigour endures – the wild strumming, haywire sonics and mysterious mumble of Energy, or the Kraut-y strut of Jolt Awake – but mostly Toy surrender to darkness, from the opiated dream-pop of You Make Me Forget Myself, to the slow-mo surreal synth-pop raga of Strangulation (midway between Pink Floyd and Erasure), to the rich gloom of Last Warmth Of The Day, its restless, detouring chord-changes and eerie twang conjuring a compellingly sinister mood. The album signals Toy’s exit from the indie-disco dancefloor, but its wintery charms and enervated intrigue are hard to deny.
Toy, conjuring a compellingly sinister mood.