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on 9 December 2013
There are two sorts albums, those which draw you in right from the word go, give you a bunch of singles to sing along to, and a catchy opening song. And there are the ones that don't - they often get slated in the press because the critics can't be bothered to listen to the album more than once or twice. This is a real shame because these less instant, catchy albums often prove to have more longevity than their single heavy counterparts.

Whereas Toy's self titled debut fell more into the former category, their latest, Join the Dots certainly doesn't. With the first album it felt like every other song could be a single, only a couple of songs here really feel like they'd be viable single choices. Not to mention the fact that it opens with a long, dreamy instrumental - another sign they're moving in a less mainstream direction. A couple of songs stand out instantly, but the majority of the albums requires a number of listens to really start to appreciate. If your willing to give it the time, though, it really starts to shine.

I've heard critics of band acuse them of sounding repetitive - that's nonsense. The album features elements of dreamy, krautrock, shoegaze, 80's indie, late 70's post-punk, 60's psych and more. Obvious influences include the Velvet Underground, Neu! And My Bloody Valentine, but that's just scratching the surface. The vocals are a bit of a love/hate aspect of the band, but personally I think they're great. Sure, it wouldn't be unfair to call them monotone, but who said that's a bad thing? What about Lou Reed (RIP) or Leonard Cohen? They don't exactly have the widest vocal ranges on earth but no one compains about them.

I've listened to the album something like 10 times since I got it a week ago, and the first time I was a bit non-plussed by it all, but I'm very glad I kept with it because the songs are now firmly stuck in my head, and probably will be for a long time yet.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 December 2013
At the tail end of the year, when most critics have already written their best of lists Toy release their second album Join The Dots. This deserves to be added to those lists. Building on their first album TOY have delivered a psychedelic guitar driven album of songs that is more mature than their debut. It has numbers that build and gather momentum as they go. You Won't Be The Same starts as a standard guitar psych number that's been heard before but about half way in starts to gather pace, with guitar and effects taking over. In fact it the instrumentation here that works best as shown on the title track. A driven riff with effects leads into a vocal after more than a minute and then this is dispensed with to great effect when the guitars come crashing in - its almost Post Rock meets Psychedelia. It has some nods to other recent similar albums such as Tame Impala's Lonerism. However, there is a bit more focus here and more drive in the rhythm section. Its not that spaced out.

Join The Dots is a great follow up effort that shows a darker side to TOY. It has some great moments and promises much. I can only imagine that live this will be expanded to great effect. Until then enjoy this dark and dreamy trip
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on 24 January 2014
There isn't a review of this band where I have seen any negativity. They stick to what they do, they haven't got any time to be told how they should sound or act, they're too busy developing even more magnitude to what they've already achieved

Because of this, I think there isn't a music publication who can fault them in anyway. Music needs bands like Toy, art needs people like this to express themselves and reach out to as many as possible (and then be remembered)

I often guess the press like Toy so much because a band have come along and made something that stands alongside The Velvet Underground, but it stands on it's own without the comparison

It may take a few listens for new or fresh eyes, but there will be no regrets once you've realised the greatness they have produced here (and in the previous album)

Get amongst it!
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on 8 June 2014
Join the dots by Toy, not to confused with Neu! and produced again by Dan Carey is the second album from a soon not to be forgotten Brighton band with a multiplex of pop references that stretches into the progressive motoric territory of 1970s Krautrock, Psychedelia and Glam, 1990s Shoe-gaze, guitar jangle and not forgetting The Velvet Underground. Further... If any one wants to know, Join the Dots surpasses their debut album In My Honest Opinion as a concept.

Nostalgia might be your refuge if you happened to have lived through any of the Toy eras and a thin spread of Marmite possibly your conclusion to the sometimes dirge like appeal of Tom Dougall's vocals, but Toy can write catchily inspired melodies especially during their Krautrock-type extended sequences which glisten and gyrate from all directions of the band. Dominic O'Dair on lead guitar is a gifted riff maker whose modus operandi is described in an interview for Digital Spy by Tom: "We're trying to make something interesting with different, new chord progressions we haven't heard before and riffs that we feel haven't been written before."

The album opens as if Toy are tuning an orchestra - coincidentally the song is called 'Conductor'. There is a decidedly Krautrock drum and bass section and the distinctive noise of the Korg Delta synthesiser makes its first appearance played by Alejandra Diaz which dovetails rather deliciously into the lushly effected guitars. The band use the opportunity to experimentally limber up before swiftly changing direction with the (The Byrds-like) song 'You Won't Be The Same'. Nothing remains for long in its usual groove in the world of Toy - each song verse deftly exchanges with progressively charged choruses or alternative verse structures which often lead into extended passages of Kraut rock indulgence! Also contained within their songs are the musical interludes of indie guitar solo work stamped in the Eighties that delight my senses in lifting the rather restrained vocals. Toy's sheer inventive pattern-making very much like the playfulness of their name easily distinguishes them from their peers and they are a future star in the making.

'Join The Dots' signals its heritage with a periodic deep pounding bass line and a drone organ with the ghosts of Can and Faust faintly laid to rest. 'Endlessly' is pure MBV fairy dust in its use of a swaying tremolo that leaves an undefinable lingering ethereal quality that again echoes the past. 'It's Been so Long' ups the tempo with one of best build up musical interludes on the album kicking off at the 2 mins mark ending in a Roxy Music-like saxophone finale.. sublime!

'Left to Wander' is an easy listening intermission before the two more challenging songs - at least vocally - on the album, 'Too Far Gone To Know' and 'Frozen Atmosphere'. These have a strange dishevelled and falling apart beauty. 'Fall Out of Love', may point to a future direction of what might I term high energy Kraut disco meets USA 90s noise-nik: could Daft Punk and their coterie of creators be an unlikely alliance for global domination next time round?

For those very much in the know album number three might be one of the most widely anticipated releases (with hopefully less lesser spotted musofications of the band's references). That Toy have thus so far become this consistently good bodes well for greater things to come and as someone zenistically put it to me "there may be those who want to put Toy on a pedestal and show them off to the world, but a pedestal is not what they deserve.." Joy for the long tail not the masses is what I think what was meant and long may this continue.
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on 14 February 2014
I really enjoy this album - but I could not tell you one song from another! Admittedly I usually play this when I am reading (it works perfectly for that purpose as I can concentrate on the reading and let the music take up what concentration is left after) on my iPod Touch.

Very enjoyable, with nice psych touches but, for me, it gets played as background music.
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on 21 May 2014
Better than their pals the Horrors lazy latest, but hard to see where they can take this sound and remain interesting for the long-term. Could be wrong, others have surprised (Black Angels and War on Drugs to name but two). Will keep an eye on them, but won't be waiting for their next release with baited breath.
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on 1 February 2014
This is a good album from Toy, but it just seems to lack the impact of the fantastic first album. I can't remember who does lead vocals, but he does an excellent job of being very mechanical with lyrics that have a lot of meaning. Just a little emotion would be a real bonus!
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on 28 March 2014
Seen live and fell in love with both of their albums. The sounds scapes and long riffs are best suited for being played live but nonetheless the melodies and synthesizer ability easily match those of its predecessor (TOY). Get both!
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on 4 March 2014
After their amazing first record, that I love to listen, songs like "Dead and Gone" here I think yhey have forgotten something in the way, pop and not with the same enthusiasm, it's a pity!!
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on 8 February 2014
This was a present for my fiance for Xmas. We are both fans of this band, and it is a terrific CD. It did take a while to arrive, but thankfully got here in time.
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