Toy Horses - Toy Horses Review
23rd Jun 2011
Father son duo’s are in the pop industry a very rare breed. Toy Horses’ Adam D Franklin and Tom Williams prefer to be described as mates who have started a band. Family ties aside this first Toy Horses album is being touted by many as the next big thing. Promoted by one of America’s most influential DJ’s, Nic Harcourt, produced by Ken Coomer (ex-Wilco), and selected to write for the likes of Jason Derulo and Sean Kingston there’s a lot to live up to here. Toy Horses don’t dally in showing they are worth the hype. Play What You Want and And It Was You kick the album of in great style revealing the pop credentials and solid writing that is earning Toy Horses such plaudits.
There’s lots of sixties pop influence here and not the pastiche variety. The pure pop song craft of The Hollies and The Kinks looms large in the bedrock on which Toy Horses songs are built and they are none the worse for it. Damage Done is one such fine example of the Adams/Williams style. Song writing credits are shared as are the vocal leads throughout the album. The shared influences are said to be The Beatles, ELO, through Madness to The Libertines; a real generational mix.
"You’re loyal to the cause but the cause is bound to fail and there’s nothing you can do" drives the chorus of Loyal To The Cause and indeed there is nothing you can do but end up singing along to such a fine pop tune. This is first rate radio ready pop. Further internet digging leads to the discovery that all ten tunes were recorded in ten days in Nashville. Ten days well spent and it does make you wonder at times why some others spend forever (and a fortune) turning out music no better or worse than two welsh guys running an electronic accessories business.
Last track on the album Interrupt has just been released as a single. I love that kind of rebelling against the norm of pitching all the singles at the ‘top’ of an album. Interrupt is an emotional heart string tugging ballad opening with strings and simple piano accompanied vocals building to a crescendo chorus that disappears as soon as it’s arrived. Cracking stuff.
Toy Horses deserve the break they are much touted to receive. This may happen in America first; there seems to be a growing impetus there that may soon reach tipping point. The UK should also get a firm grip on two of its own. Toy Horses shows why British pop music is simply the best and why more of this needs to feature on our radio stations rather than the Rhythm and Boredom proliferation that blights Radio 1. Toy Horses will no doubt end up cordoned off to Radio 2’s playlist, but that should be no hindrance; R2 probably plays more current chart music on a daily basis anyway.
This is a great first album. The talent has already been spotted by those who want the Adams/Williams song craft to lift the catalogue of those the quite frankly don’t deserve it. Let’s hope they keep the best for themselves because after listening to Toy Horses you will want to hear more.
Guest review by D-Jaysea
[Updated 22 February 2012] - Toy Horses are re-releasing a deluxe hardback, 24-page booklet version of their debut album on 27 February 2012 from Albino Sparrow Records, before embarking on a UK tour as detailed below:-
01 March - Roadhouse - Manchester
02 March - Lock 42 - Leicester
03 March - Empire - Leeds
04 March - Watershed - Milton Keynes
05 March - The End - Birmingham
06 March - Ten Feet Tall - Cardiff
07 March - Garage - London
08 March - Ringside - Hull
09 March - Ku Bar - Stockton-on-Tees
10 March - 100 Club - London
11 March - The Croft – Bristol
15 March - Eric's - Liverpool
16 March - The Leopard - Doncaster
20 March - Telford's Warehouse - Chester