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Album Review: toyGuitar - 'In This Mess'

13 February 2015 | 10:42 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Happy punk summer surf.

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toyGuitar is a new band from members of Swingin' Utters, a side-project of sorts that have just released their debut full length 'In This Mess' through Fat Wreck Chords. The band take the punk fuelled energy, and even some of the production cues from their mother group while adding a healthy dose of melody into the fold steering the sounds of the new act towards the punk-pop world. The group manages to give it a vintage sheen however, the guitar tones hit surf-rock level throughout the record, which also helps to give it an overall positive vibe.

The opening tracks bust out with huge bass lines that are nearly as melodic as the vocals, setting the tone for some fun and good vibes early, it's not all a party however as the record simmers down as it progresses. 'On A Wire' is a perfect example of a moment to breathe, get a little serious, and realise that these guys can put some heart and beauty into their songs as well as some fun. 'Until I Find You' is another moment of clarity, albeit not without some energy, the track is the album's love song, not in a sappy way, more in a "do you like me yes/no, ok here's a beer” kind of way.

The record's title track is a good mid-way point, it keeps the fast and loose vibes of the opening numbers, as this band clearly revels in their imperfections. Equally, this gives the album somewhat of a live feel but with enough polish to show they care. The guitars are clear drivers of the music, but never overshadowing the at times fragile vocal lines from Jack Dalrymple, which shouldn't work on paper, but really do.

The album stand-out waits until the end to unveil itself, 'Roller Coasters', a song that toggles the line between happy and sad and manages to sum up all of the elements the band have shown before it. It could possibly be the saddest song on the record, or the prettiest, or the most rock n' roll, we can't decide.

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toyGuitar have given you a pick-me-up record that is to be enjoyed in the sun, while also containing enough weight to real sink into and find meaning. 'In This Mess' is a strong full-length debut that will appeal to fans of punk, rock, pop and everything in between.

1. Human Hyenas

2. When It Was Over

3. Is It True?

4. I'm In My Head

5. In This Mess

6. Static Attraction

7. Let's Talk in the Shower

8. Sliver of Sun

9. On a Wire

10. Until I Find You

11. Roller Coasters

12. Loose in a Room