Toy, gig review: Students of psychedelia fail to find derangement

Koko, London

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The Independent Culture

Toy rose from the wreckage of Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong, whose 2008 debut album disappeared from release schedules as permanently and  mysteriously as the crew of the Marie Celeste. Three-fifths of that doomed band reconvened in Brighton as Toy, releasing their second album, Join the Dots, on Heavenly Records late last year.

The band’s combination of Kraftwerk’s motorik groove and Sixties psychedelia rarely wavers during this Teenage Cancer Trust benefit gig. “Fall Out Of Love” typically maintains a steady, motorway momentum, punctuated by punkier thrashes that never risk descending into chaos.

Toy’s curtains of hair don’t hide them as completely as they once did. Their music similarly benefits when its predictable tribute to its influences parts for an odd synth solo from Alejandra Diez. Her hints at prog-rock grandiosity, like singer Tom Dougall’s way with Sixties-style pop during “Heart Skips a Beat”, are brief windows of surprise in heartfelt, forceful but indistinct music.

Toy sometimes whip up climaxes which make them swirl and twist across the stage, transported. Too often, though, they seem like diligent students of their own style. Their psychedelic roots fail to find deranging results.