on 26 March 2012
It's been eight years since their "last" album. Now here's the follow-up and it's their best album in a long time.
The band is hungrier than ever, full of energy and Olga spits his words out with fury he hasn't done since the "Toy Dolls EP" and "Teenager in Love/I've Got Asthma" in 1981. The album starts with Olga trying to come up with a song on his guitar, when carol singers interrupts him. He doesn't like it one bit, it's hilarious. Other than that, the focus is mostly on the songs. That's not to say that there are no sketches on the album, but you shouldn't expect "Dig That Groove Baby", "A Far Out Disc" or "Absurd-Ditties". It's got more talk/sketches than "Our Last Album?" though.
After the little rascals are gone, "Credit Crunch Christmas" and "Molly Was Immoral" blast off the record with break-necking speed, muscular riffs and - as always - their trademark hilarious lyrics, just as you'd expect.
Something quite new is that each band member gets a bit more space than usual. Tommy Goober's bass introduces "Decca's Drinking Dilemma"; The Amazing Mr. Duncan plays fiddle on some songs and even has lead vocals on "Don't Drive Yer Car Up Draycott Avenue", one of the album's many highlights. But the real highlight is the three acoustic solo performances with Olga at the end of the record, which proves that you don't need electric guitars to rock.
"The Album After the Last One" is just as good as you could possibly hope for. If you're a fan, don't hesitate purchasing it.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Olgamental Intro", "Credit Crunch Christmas", "Molly Was Immoral", "Don't Drive Yer Car Up Draycott Avenue", "Kevin's Cotton Wool Kids", all the acoustic tracks.
on 11 April 2012
That this album has come out at all represents more a sigh of relief for Toy Dolls fans than anything else. The end of the previous "Our Final Album?" was punctured with Olga stopping the band and saying "Hang on, this isn't REALLY our last album?" much to the joy/relief of their fans, although this was punctured with much "will I won't I?" from Olga thereafter so that this record's come out at all represents a triumph of common sense over Olga feeling his age (despite the alarming fact the post 50 Michael Algar still sounds far younger than the rest of the current band line up!).
That said, the speed with which "Our Last Tour?" sold out may also have concentrated Olga's mind wonderfully, as the band that struggled to sell gigs for two decades filled halls previously only in the band's wildest dreams - amazing what having your own website can do for a band the pub bores will claim "nobody listens to" (although releasing one of the strongest albums in their history did help).
The Toy Dolls you see are something (at least in the UK) of a dirty little secret, punk's equivalent of cheese and toast: not fancy, but strangely comforting as well as satisfying, and something you're guaranteed you'll return to again and again long after others you've gone off others you thought you liked more. True, the yikkering weasel lead vocals backed with football hooligan chants might not be everyone's idea of singing, but few can turn out a catchy tune with such casual ease. All the mishaps and all the line-up changes later, the Toy Dolls remain a reliable en spec purchase.
So to the new album, which Olga wasn't impressed with as per usual. Unfortunately it does suffer from a terrible running order, starting off with the disposable "Credit Crunch Christmas" single and going further downhill with "Molly Was Immoral" (please Olga, can you drop the obligatory "Coronation Street" song per album) before "Sciatica Sucks" decends into that nice-song-let-down-by-godawful-chorus territory most Toy Dolls fans had hoped were never to be heard from again after "We're Mad".
However, this trough is followed by four tracks with the Toy Dolls at the top of their game, starting with the irrestistable singalong "B.E.E.R." before the best track of the album, the hilarious "Kev's Cotton Wool Kids" about a mate's over-protective parenting (to the extent they're not allowed to watch Blue Peter as it's "too violent"!). This is followed by a switch of vocals and style to drummer Mr Duncan for the excellent "Don't Drive Your Car Up Draycott Avenue" on the delights of London traffic congestion. The quartet is rounded off with an atypical piece of Toy Dolls fast fret madness with "Dirty Doreen" about an 84 year old nymphomaniac - a textbook lesson on how to be sideachingly funny without needing to swear or being crude to achieve it.
Alas, thereafter comes "Down At The Old 29", "Marty's Mam", "Gordon Brown Gets Me Down", which seem exercises in name-dropping without being remotely good, but the end is rescued before the as ever splendid theme song and bonus tracks by "Decca's Drinking Dilemma", complete with the funkiest bass there's been in a Toy Dolls song since the days of John "K-Cee" Casey.
Is it worth getting an album where only half the new material tracks are good? In this case "yes", because you'll still be playing them in five years time, and you know it. Olga perhaps has let his song writing skills get a touch rusty from underuse, but there's clearly still plenty of talent left in the old Mackam yet long after many of his contemporaries have become an embarrassment. The next album can't come quick enough.
on 7 April 2012
This is a must-have for a Toy Dolls fan. I bought this one because of the great comments of a friend. She told me this cd was absolutely great. And indeed. While listening to this cd I already longed to see them perform. Great tunes, great lyrics, ... glad I bought it. My favourite is Decca's dilemma and B.E.E.R. Can't wait for Olga and crew to perform around here.
on 29 August 2012
after the first 10 seconds of this disc it could be no other band but the toy dolls.intro is undeniably Olga.The only dissapointment is "gordon brown gets me down"The bonus acoustic tracks are brilliant and should be on all forthcoming releases.The track ............"draycott avenue,written and sung by drummer mr. duncan is a breath of fresh air and typically toy dolls.Some brilliant guitar work (as you would expect)and some crazy tunes about Olga,his mates and his fave telly shows.A must for fans and well and truly worth the wait.Bring on the next album...