The Horrors-endorsed psych fivesome put their jangly Joe Lean days firmly behind them
Look closely at this lot. You might recognise some of them. Three members of Toy – singer Tom Dougall, guitarist Dom O’Dair and bassist Panda – were the backbone of Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong, the indie troupe who failed spectacularly in 2009 when their hyped debut was pulled on the eve of its release for being, well, shit.
But don’t call Toy a second choice. “We were never interested in indie pop or any of that,” says Tom, who you could swear turns into The Kinks’ Dave Davies circa 1968 when you squint a bit. He and Dom are in Radar’s local the lunchtime after the first of four weekly Toy shows at Dalston’s Shacklewell Arms, otherwise known as The Horrors’ boozer of choice. And last night, when head-swirl synths sent psychedelic riffs bouncing around the sweatbox crowd and spacey Stones jams hypnotised all present, the band didn’t exactly give the impression that their ambition was to relight the Razorlight fire.
“We were desperate to try out our idea of what would make a great band,” Tom continues. That idea was completed by drummer Charlie Salvidge and synth player Alejandra Diez, and inspired by Neu!, Kraftwerk, The Velvet Underground, The Fall and My Bloody Valentine – along with hairstyles, clothes and an aesthetic that reads as dark as a David Lynch notebook.
“We use lots of unusual sounds influenced by early electronic music,” says Dom, before going all dewy-eyed about the band’s hallowed Korg Delta. “We don’t want just to sound like a bunch of blokes rocking out on electric guitars,” Tom adds. And indeed they don’t. Their nearest touchpoint from today’s indie landscape is undoubtedly former touring partners The Horrors – ‘Clock Chime’, for example, is precisely the kind of colourful, stretched haze that could slide onto ‘Skying’.
But they’re moving fast enough to plough their own brilliantly dark furrow – a deal is about to be signed with Heavenly and a debut album is planned for August. “We really like The Horrors!” laughs Tom, before protesting, “But we don’t really make the same kind of music. We want to make our album as quick as possible, then just keep releasing as many as we can.” Sounds like playtime’s over.
Need To Know:
For Fans of: Neu!, The Horrors
Hear It: Download debut single ‘Left Myself Behind’/‘Clock Chime’ for free from Toy-band.com
See Them Live: They play Camden Barfly on February 7, and Shacklewell Arms on February 10
Believe It Or Not: Joe Lean isn’t the only indie-type that Toy have links to – Tom’s sister is ex-Pipette Rose Elinor Dougall
This article originally appeared in the February 4th issue of NME