Firstly, this is the first post on bleep bleep beat. So hello internet!
Right.. the music. ‘Where We Are’ is the debut album of ‘My Toys Like Me’ a four piece electronic act from London. I’d not heard any of their music before buying this but on my first few listens of this I’m really impressed. The smooth funky bass only takes seconds to kick in, totally putting you off guard for the sweet angelic vocals of Frances. ‘Superpowers’ the opening track oozes cool and slick from start to finish. The odd bit of a grunge riff and scratched guitar layers this nicely half way though. All the time maintaining the high levels of slick defined at the start.
The album goes a little more subdued after this, focusing more heavily on the vocals than previously until it breaks down and the experimentation starts. Clicks, beeps and plucks bridge the verses tentatively. My favourite part of the album now takes place, ‘Sweetheart’ and ‘Barnaby’ perfectly representing this band. Again, the vocals prominent and encapsulating, slick bass in the background and all overlay with a synthesiser and intermittent thrashy guitar. ‘Sweetheart’ is laced with metaphors, as Frances sings ‘I can see you getting in hot water, I know you’re not my daughter, but I do worry’, the synth takes an aquatic approach changing the direction of the music again, in total contrast to the odd riff here and there.
‘Barnaby’ is a much more dirty and dark sounding track. Starting with a lo-fi horror/synth passage, the chorus of this track is the highlight for me – scratchy guitar, with a distorted dirty loop you can’t help but move some bodypart too.
After ‘Barnaby’ the album goes a bit more subdued again, more pleasant and accessible but not as strong as the first few tracks would lead you to believe the album would be. Then again, this album isn’t a linear experience, so ‘Grin & Wriggle’ kicks in and you find everything that bowled you over is back – it’s sexy, it’s dark sounding and the vocals continue to be enchanting. My personal feelings with some of the odd tracks is that they’re drastically more unsettled than others. ‘Making fire’ is not so much difficult to follow, but more a question of if you want to try. It does reward you with some moments of tuneful melody, but as a full song it lacks what the offer.
‘Skylights’ takes more of a danceable approach, not what you would here on a night out, but maybe letting go in your bedroom kind of thing. It takes some elements of Barnaby and mixes it with some erratic loops that remind me massively of Blueberry Boat by the Fiery Furnaces. Following on from this you start to sense influence from Massive Attack, but with their own personal touch. That’s what My Toys Like Me manage to achieve on this record, subtle energy.
The album leads to the end in a very calm and soulful way. The journey is almost complete, the last track sounding beautiful and refined albeit with a quiet noise over the top. The lyrics sound more heartfelt and mixed with some woodwind, making it stand out from the others. It’s a nice way to bring you back down, although perhaps not immediately for another listen.
This album should be disconcerting, but it’s all threaded together brilliantly, always returning to the hook of the track. It’s a very good listen but as I said, another listen straight away could lead you to some mild form of madness.