TOY: Happy in the Hollow (Tough Love/Southbound)

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Move Through the Dark
TOY: Happy in the Hollow (Tough Love/Southbound)

At the recent Laneway a friend and I commented about a decent young local band that it sounded like they'd grown up with their parents' Eighties records (Smiths, Cure, Joy Division etc).

There's perhaps an inevitability about that . . . and here it comes again with this UK outfit who here on their fourth album channel similar sources alongside a bit of Mazzy Star/shoegaze drone and motorik beats.

Seven years ago they were being hailed as The Next Big Thing in some UK press and were touring with the Horrors.

But that is a long time gone and we can only go on the ever-so-familiar music here which pulls in synth soundscapes for slightly eerie effect, offers low-range melodies and a real sense that the early Eighties never went away round their house.

Try Energy – the most energetic piece here – for a shock of the old (Kraftwerk/This Heat/early Cure) or Last Warmth of the Day which hits the mid-ground between Ultravox and Bauhaus.

Or Jolt Awake which seems perfectly at home in 1981.

There are flashes of interest here however: The seven-minute Willo with its acoustic guitar, lightlydelic inflections, keyboard and off-kilter guitar figures place it somewhere on the Syd Barrett spectrum (as is the quirky instrumental Charlie's House). The melodic Mechanism is nice and opens the better second half which closes with the Floydian Move Through the Dark.

But while this hangs together as a passable album which is little more than the sum of its influences we are also reminded of a catchline from that decade which we here give an appropriate twist to: Gloom is good.

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