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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Toy Dolls

The Album after the Last One

Review by Larry Toering

This is a band that has been around for decades yet I don't recall even knowing of them before. This can happen easily when a band sticks to their home turf for so long and don't seem to need or even want to crack other markets. Being so, they would have to classify as one of the first true punk rock bands to be taken seriously by the recording industry. The guitar work by now is something special. Being new to them, though, I just can't say whether or not that has always been the case. But the skill set possessed by guitarist Olga is by now second to none, at least in this genre. Of course, punk rock isn’t  often looked upon for stellar musicianship, but rather sometimes the complete opposite. I have to compliment the playing though, for all it's worth, because it's that good. These guys rock with the best of them, so it doesn't seem to matter what compositions they come up with, they seem to be all attitude and ability. That ability does allow them to write and record catchy tunes, I just have to wonder how much this reviewer has missed concerning that. If this release is any indication of what I have missed over the years, there is certainly more interest where I come from.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Olgamental Intro
Starting with a comical voice asking just where to start, things go into a chanting chorus and some killer guitar runs before the door bell rings and the door opens to find kids Christmas caroling. They get the door slammed in their faces as they are  told to “go away!” Fine guitar work is displayed to hint at what's to come for those unfamiliar with the Toy Dolls.
Credit Crunch Christmas
Some of these titles simply speak for themselves, and this is one of them. At this point, even though I'm new to the group, they come off like a perfect cross between The Dropkick Murphy's and the old TV series “The Young Ones” but according to bio this band has been around since way before either of those.
Molly Was Immoral
This is apparently a tale about a rather evil girl, nothing more. The tune picks up in the pace department, but basically sticks around with the others so far. However, there’s a crunchy riff to it that sounds more like heavy metal. Funny and all out zany is the idea, and it delivers. A fine guitar solo threatens to menace the otherwise anti-technical approach. I love the pick slides. This one is all guitar for me, even though the chanting vocals tend to dominate it.
Sciata Sucks
The chops and overall skill sets of these musicians sure do start to show up in a big way here, even though they do all they can to hide it. Make no mistake, these guys are pros at what they do, so it's strictly a matter of liking it or not. They clearly get off on what they do. So far, this is the most killer display of what they're all about at this stage of the game. I also have to note how cool this ends, as they come back and subtly repeat the title as it fades.
B.E.E.R.
It's kind of hard not to guess what this is all about, as your average cheerleading is done for beer. That is accomplished with a featured gruff vocal. Fun is completely defined on this party tune, but then most of them are exactly that.
Kevin's Cotton
This is a zany mix of punk and metal to get in the ears of fans of both, equally. Some of the more outlandish factors are displayed in this tune.
Don't Drive Yer Car up Draycott Avenue
This is something a band like Green Day would've been all over, as it resembles them so much that I could almost mistake each band for the other. Great efforts are made in the process either way, as it is simply one of the funnest listening experiences on this disc. Don't drive down there or you'll regret it, but probably with some kind of deranged laughter nonetheless.
Dirty Doreen
This gets the job done in putting down yet another female character named on the album. Although that sort of thing doesn't impress me, the guitar work on this certainly does. More killer chops make this track all it can be in the musicality department, and another funny outro is added to top off the madness.
Down at the Old 29
So far, this is the most hardcore track delivered. The vocals get about as oddly diverse as anywhere else to be found among this collection of songs, making it yet one of the more complex numbers. This certainly isn't easy music to describe, but it's something like psychobilly without the stand up bass factor.
Marty's Mam
A tale about “Marty's Mam” is obviously what this is, and one can almost call this British South Park meets quasi-heavy metal. This has an almost oxymoronic intro, as some strings make an effort to mislead, and then a whole different thing comes out of it. This is great stuff!
Gordon Brown Gets Me Down
I'm going to have to call this up as the heaviest track on the disc, so far. But it contains nothing the others don't in that way of things. They just manage to get this point across here better than before, or after it. I'd say it holds up with the best here.
Decca's Drinkin' Dilema
This, along with a couple of others go to show a killer drummer at work here, as well. As much as punks often don't like to be told they're good at their instruments, something tells me this band must be different when it comes to that. A huge bass is also displayed on this number as well, and goes just as far as the drummer in proving that skill level. Add the fine guitar work (which by now is expected) and one can't lose. This is killer!
Olgamental Outro
There is nothing different than the intro to be described here really, as the album proper goes out the same way it came into being. Almost a last ditch effort to get the insane guitar playing abilities across, this pretty much wraps the whole thing up properly.
Fiery Jack
This is the first of a few acoustic bonus tracks, and right away the guitar instantly makes a good difference. You can tell it's of the same killer approach to playing. This difference seals the deal for me, as it shows the musicality that I sense in this band.
Cloughy Is A Bootboy

More complex acoustic sweeping is displayed on this track. The vocal factors here are of the more comical nature, and that is never a bad thing to my ears with the Toy Dolls.

The Sphinx Stinks
This one is all comical factors with a lot less musicality displayed, but likely containing everything their fans have come to expect from them.

 

 
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