TOY – Happy in the Hollow

On their first self-produced effort, and first on new label Tough Love Records, TOY continue to put their own unique spin on psychedelia but play it a bit safe

Album Review by Nadia Younes | 21 Jan 2019
  • TOY – Happy in the Hollow
Album title: Happy in the Hollow
Artist: TOY
Label: Tough Love Records
Release date: 25 Jan

In a series of firsts, London-based five-piece TOY chose to take the leap on their fourth album – first on new label Tough Love Records – Happy in the Hollow, producing and mixing it entirely on their own for the first time in their career.

The album also sees lead vocals shared among the band’s members for the first time. Tom Dougall’s subtle, hazy vocals continue to take centre stage on the majority of the album's tracks, working particularly well over the delicate melodies of Mistake a Stranger and Last Warmth of the Day. But You Make Me Forget Myself sees bassist Maxim Barron take on lead vocal duties in the tenderest moment on the album, detailing the breakdown of a relationship.

Energy and Jolt Awake, on the other hand, are aptly titled and introduce more of a pace, guided by throbbing basslines and chugging drums; both lean more into the heavier side of psychedelia, exploring garage-rock and psychobilly sensibilities. However, there are parts of the album that feel a bit too safe and fall flat as a result. Sequence One, The Willo and Strangulation Day, for example, all demonstrate TOY’s solid grasp of psychedelia but sound restrained and don’t possess enough energy to maintain much interest.

TOY continue to put their own unique spin on psychedelia with Happy in the Hollow, and it’s one that clearly works, but ultimately the record lacks in any kind of urgency and doesn’t push much further on what the band have already achieved with previous albums.

Listen to: Mistake a Stranger, Energy