Clear Shot is the third studio album released by the band Toy. Hailing from Brighton, the band is made up of Tom Dougall (vocals and guitar), Dominic O’Dair (guitarist), Maxim ‘Panda’ Barron (bass), Charlie Salvidge (drums) and newest member, Max Oscarnold (keys). The album was produced by David Wrench and release through Heavenly Recordings.
Toy’s guitar driven indie rock sound, with synth embellishment and singer Tom Dougall’s deadpan dream like vocals a kin to bands such as The Cure, is alluring at first, however as the album progresses the development of this sound does not. Their sound did not come across as secure; they don’t really take off with it. They seem hover in the same space throughout the whole album. It’s not to say that there is absolutely no creativity in the song writing itself. Fast Silver, is captivating in its contrasting sections, and Clouds That Cover The Sun (a personal favorite on the album) explores interesting harmonic pathways taking your ear unexpected places. I found this rather enticing.
Considering the recent changes to the band’s line up, since the departure of keyboardist Alejandra Diez in September 2015 and replacement of producer Dan Carey with Wrench, it could offer an explanation as to the safe play of Clear Shot. It’s not particularly bad, but not quite as strong as you would want them to be on their third album.
Toy’s Clear Shot is a little murky. They need to find their feet again. Having said that, there are moments of promise in the album. Toy should focus on those stronger moments in their music and develop their ideas further. I’m curious to hear what they do next, but for now it’s not all that captivating.