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Album Review: Toy Horses – Toy Horses

 
By on Thursday, 1st March 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

They’re one of the best things to come out of Wales in a good while, and no, they are not Tom Jones. They’re Toy Horses: Adam D. Franklin and his stepdad Tom Williams are the principal protagonists in this story and this story is about brilliant pop music.

On first listen to their self-titled, I am already hooked; on my second listen, I discovered the beautiful lyrics; on third listen I sat back and enjoyed myself; on fourth listen, the realization set in that this was a piece of work that people NEED to hear. Track ‘Interrupt’ (live version from Berlin in this previous Live Gig Video) is a piece of quintessential pop, quickly transcending their billing as an indie act. It borders on psychedelia, but there are no tricks apparent. The vocals are magical and it’s difficult describing just how much of a good mood it puts you in.

But the same can be said of the entire album; it’s hard to pick out a song that doesn’t have its merits. But ‘Interrupt’ is by far the best example of what this album is about, beautiful pianos which have me harping back to the Beatles, and I don’t say this lightly. (First-ever Beatles comparison in a review. Ever.) Single ‘And It Was You’ (review here) is a slow-burning number, full of charm, and again, it’s much like the rest of the record.

Adam and Tom’s vocals mix perfectly on ‘Damage Done’: the bass hums along keeping the pace nicely, while Adam and Tom’s vocals continue to soar above the music. Toy Horses’ music translates best on their upbeat pacey numbers. However, when the pace is slowed down in ‘Last Chance’, an acoustic number, the album loses its charm somewhat.

The album as a whole is easy listening, and that statement is not to detract from the merits of this record. Its beauty isn’t harsh on the ear and is easily digestible for the harshest music buff to your casual Radio1 listener on the Greg James show.

Their casual ‘60s-ish sound is something that isn’t around at the moment, giving Toy Horses a unique platform and niche from which to enter the mainstream. Rave reviews of their live performance have already come from last year’s South by Southwest and from listening to this album, it’s difficult not to see why the reviews have been so favourable.

A thoroughly enjoyable listen, to which revisiting is a must.

9/10

The self-titled debut from Toy Horses is available now from Albino Sparrow. Their March UK tour starts tonight at Manchester Roadhouse; all the details of the tour are here.

 

Video of the Moment #710: Toy Horses

 
By on Monday, 13th February 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

‘Whimsical’ is a word bandied about a little too much by bloggers, but I don’t know what other words fits for this new video for ‘Play What You Want’ (single out on the 12th of March) from Toy Horses. Uh…precious? I know. Adorable!

The Stephen Fry Twitter endorsement is just icing on the cake, really. Well done! Catch the band on tour in March, shortly after their self-titled debut drops on 27 February.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzTGXJow1y8[/youtube]

 

Toy Horses / March 2012 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 15th December 2011 at 9:30 am
 

Toy Horses are going on tour in England in March. The band told me on Facebook that tickets for most of these dates are available now, so go forth and prosper!

Editor’s note 24 January 2012: I’ve been advised that the dates have changed. I’ve updated the list as it stands today.

Thursday 1st March 2012 – Manchester Roadhouse
Friday 2nd March 2012 – Leicester Lock 42
Saturday 3rd March 2012 – Leeds Empire
Sunday 4th March 2012 – Milton Keynes Watershed
Monday 5th March 2012 – Birmingham End
Tuesday 6th March 2012 – Cardiff Ten Feet Tall
Wednesday 7th March 2012 – London Garage
Thursday 8th March 2012 – Hull Ringside
Friday 9th March 2012 – Darlington Seen
Saturday 10th March 2012 – London 100 Club
Sunday 11th March 2012 – Bristol Croft
Friday 16th March 2012 – Doncaster Leopard

 

Live Gig Video: Toy Horses live in Berlin

 
By on Thursday, 29th September 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

Here are Toy Horses playing their track ‘Interrupt’ live in Berlin on the 10th of September. Beautiful: enjoy the performance below, including a spirited singalong with the audience.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDJRRYXVQOg[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #487: Toy Horses

 
By on Thursday, 26th May 2011 at 6:00 pm
 

Following on from a recent ringing Twitter endorsement as Stephen Fry’s new favourite indie band, Toy Horses must be chuffed. We’re so chuffed for them, we’ve posted a whimsical unofficial video set to the song that Mister Fry likes so much, ‘What About the Future’, below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezJecZpe1FM[/youtube]

 

Single Review: Toy Horses – And It Was You

 
By on Friday, 28th January 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

Toy Horses – what sounds like an unlikely partnership between Adam Franklin and his stepfather Tom Williams – are releasing a new single, ‘And It Was You’, on 21 February on Albino Sparrow Records.

In the top 40 world of autotune and pretty-faced quasi-talents, Toy Horses is a refreshing change. Refreshing, in the sense that you can take ‘basic’ instruments – guitars, piano, drums and a spare violin – and record a song that blows away most things that require a computer or other electronic wizardry to get off the ground.

And often, sometimes simplest is best – but it’s simple that is truly the hardest to write, because you have nothing, nothing to fall back on. It either works or it doesn’t. True artists of songwriting are few and far between these days, and when I say ‘artist’, I mean people who can write songs and bring out the emotions of their listeners. The subject is not normal pop fodder but you know what? Who cares. I had a spin of this song for the first time a couple days ago, and it brought tears to my eyes.

The new promo video for the song continues this back to basics sentiment: it was filmed in a rural Welsh hamlet and features fans, family, friends and passersby miming the words (and quite happily, judging by their faces!) to the song while the carousel that has become Toy Horses’ trademark runs in the background. You can listen to a stream of the song below, as well as watch the video for it too. Catch the duo on tour in the coming weeks, details on TGTF.

9/10

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72zwKrD-0EE[/youtube]

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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