Brighton five-piece TOY return to the fold with Clear Shot on Heavenly records, three years after the release of their previous album. In that time, subtle differences have begun to shine through but for the most part the beguiling, mysterious aura that surrounds their studio offerings remains. Not in the way a heavy fog would spoil the view of the seafront in their hometown, it's much more complimentary and makes the group genuinely interesting.
While the likes of 'Jungle Games' and 'Clouds That Cover The Sun' are shrouded in shoegaze stylings, the album's title track and 'Another Dimension' offer much more clarity in both vocals and lyrical meaning.
Singer Tom Dougal's vocal melodies are mesmerising and marry with his band's backing on the latter track to great effect. The immediacy of 'I'm Still Believing' (listen below) is largely down to its chorus line of "So simple, so fine, she perfectly read my mind", a shadowy nod to the sixties brought into the modern day.
Altogether, this combination makes for a stellar effort. Maybe it's down to a different approach or perhaps maturity, but the overwhelming feeling here is how tight the group are. 'Dream Orchestrator' is a fine example of this, where the marriage of synths and fuzzy guitar begins to rise towards a psychedelic climax, drummer Charlie Salvidge remains impervious and is an asset to his band.
They round off in truly mind blowing fashion with seven minute opus 'Cinema' which truly lives up to its name. A journey of sounds and imagery ends with a wall of noise that perpetuates through endless reverb and distant choral vocals.
TOY differ from most modern bands, maybe not in the way they dress, but more the way they present themselves. Yes, the long haired, leather jacket sporting image is flavour of the month at the moment, but they're not constantly shoved in your face, plastered all over your news feed or always on your radio and it suits them. The music speaks for itself, and for as long as they stay mysterious, they remain completely mesmerising.