★★★★ Happy In The Hol­low TOUGH LOVE. CD/DL/LP

Mojo (UK) - - Filter Albums - Ste­vie Chick

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.

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