Classic CD Review: Cuts [2005]


Band:
Toy Love
Label: Flying Nun

1. “Squeeze” – A
2. “Rebel” – A+
3. “Don’t Ask Me” – A
4. “Sheep” – A
5. “I Don’t Mind” – B+
6. “Swimming Pool” – A-
7. “Death Rehearsal” – B+
8. “Bride of Frankenstein” – B+
9. “Toy Love Song” – B+
10. “Photographs of Naked Ladies” – A
11. “Bedroom” – A-
12. “The Crunch” – A
13. “Ain’t It Nice” – A
14. “Cold Meat” – B+
15. “Don’t Catch Fire” – A-
16. “Green Walls” – A-
17. “Pull Down the Shades – A++
18. “Frogs” – B
19. “Fast Ostrich” – A-
20. “Amputee Song” – A-
21. “Good Old Joe” – A-

Comments: Toy Love was an extremely short lived (’78-’79) band from New Zealand. Their legacy proved more lasting as Flying Nun decided to re-master the band’s first LP and include unreleased tracks in a greatest hits compilation called Cuts. The first disc in that set called The Authorized Version is a journey in new wave and punk rock. A song like “Squeeze” is a “Shout To The Top” before “Shout To The Top.” It’s one very rooted in New Wave before most of the world even knew of New Wave.  Speaking of that kind of stuff, “Rebel” sounds like a reaction to the Mod Revival that was occurring around the time of Toy Love’s inception. Choice lyrics: “Credit cards and a maserati/Don’t go to films/Less he knows they’re arty/Likes Women’s Lib/And the Values Party/He’s a Rasta, he’s New Wave/Don’t do nothing/Less he’s told exactly/How to behave.” “Don’t Ask Me” takes a sojourn back to the days of the Velvets/early early punk rock ‘n roll. A catchy chorus “I don’t know where I’m going to” followed by a lush organ equals a neat song in “Sheep.” I’m not so sure I can really grasp how well constructed most of these songs are. Kiwi rock was functioning on a different plane than most of its genre counterparts, taking aim at a bunch of thriving sub-genres from outside the island nation. The transition from “Green Walls” to “Pull Down The Shades” might be the most brilliant of its kind that I’ve heard. I first heard “Pull” when Jay Reatard covered it for Stroke, a Chris Knox tribute album. I prefer the one on this album, with its absolute raw energy and hooky as hell vibe. It’s one of my favorite songs (in general). As a whole, I’d say this record is on the very good end of things. Only a few tracks truly standout, but the rest of them are worthy of some merit. It’s easy to see the influence that this may have had on ’80s alt-rock and ’90s and beyond post-punk/power-pop.

Grade: A-

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