Toy | s/t
Toy’s latest sounds a lot like the masters of their genre, but the band puts forth enough of their own sounds to keep it fresh.
Toy resides somewhere between the worlds of Deerhunter and My Bloody Valentine, with the addition of plenty of synthesizers. The band makes a psychedelic version of rock that relies as much on walls of sound as it does floaty, reverberating vocals. Despite the heavy British accent (and spelling of “colour”) on the opening track, most of the album’s vocals sound scarily similar to Bradford Cox’s, down to the slight delay on most tracks.
The band’s strengths show when they get into longer tracks that build around a simple bass line. Drums cut loose and hints of Sonic Youth’s noise breakdowns find their way into the mix. The overall tone of the group is much sunnier and more upbeat than most of their fellow psych/shoegaze bands. While this album may remind you of “Microcastle” more than a few times, Toy presents enough of its own ideas to make this an album able to stand on its own.
RIYL: Deerhunter, My Bloody Valentine, Yo La Tengo
Taken By Trees | Other Worlds
This indie pop project creates a sparse and introspective look at island life.
Drawing inspiration from Hawaii, this release from Victoria Bergsman and co. combines atmospheric synth and lyrical piano riffs with nature sounds to create a hazy soundtrack to the islands. “Other Worlds” as a whole is lazy and relaxed in the best ways, with each track transitioning seamlessly into the next. The vocals act as a misty layer over the ebb and flow of the instrumentation, resulting in serene tracks like “Dreams” and “Not Like Any Other.” Though not all together a surprising release, tracks like “Pacific Blue” and “I Want You” take the album on a dream-like path and make this a wistful tribute to paradise.
RIYL: Beach House, Poor Moon, Monade
Mister Loveless | Grow Up
This album, full of middle-of-the-road surf-rock, redeems itself with a few mold-breaking, understated new wave tunes.
The first track on Mister Loveless’ new album “Grow Up” is an apathetic anthem called “Nineties Children,” and Mister Loveless is at its best when it stays closest to that label. Despite being crowded with simple, inoffensive but unspectacular formulaic surf-rock, the album shines on a few tracks where the band goes back to its roots as ‘90s kids playing covers of Joy Division and turning up the reverb way too high. Songs like “Strange and Futureless” and “Saint Obscura” break out of their rut with slower, more subdued and understated songs for which Rob I. Miller’s voice is better suited to begin with. As a bonus, “Nineties Children” sounds like a version of Cloud Nothings that you can bring home to mom.
RIYL: Surfer Blood, Howler, Cloud Nothings, Joy Division
Two Door Cinema Club | Beacon
This is some infectious material.
Two Door Cinema Club has never delivered anything less. The band’s precise vocal phrasing returns for another go with a more electrifying band setup that certainly works, if not quite as well as their debut. Lead singer Alex Trimble’s pipes shine throughout the album as the musical world around him explodes with poppy voracity.
“Beacon” is a dancey, infectious, earworm-filled album that you can’t help but tap your foot to. Sure, the band doesn’t feel as fresh as they did in their 2010 debut, but as original releases go, “Tourist History” would be hard for any pop band to match. “Beacon” is the same brand of get-this-stupid-song-out-of-my-head music that we all love Two Door for.
RIYL: Phoenix, The Temper Trap, The Kooks, and The Killers