Saturday, April 18, 2015

Album Review: 'In This Mess' by toyGuitar

Title:  In This Mess (Fat Wreck Chords, BandCamp, Amazon, iTunes, Interpunk)

In This Mess is a high energy romp that mixes elements of garage rock, punk, and power pop.  The record opens with the jangly blast of “Human Hyenas” perfectly setting the stage for what is to come.  While most of the record is on the fast side, it is the slower moments that really let toyGuitar shine.  Songs like the mid-tempo “Static Attraction” and the almost ballad “Roller Coasters” showcase that this band is far from being another punk band which shouldn’t be at all surprising considering the band is led by singer/guitarist Jack Dalrymple of One Man Army, Dead To Me, and Swingin’ Utters fame.  I have been a fan of Dalrymple’s work since I first heard One Man Army’s “Down the Block” on a now long-forgotten four-way split seven inch, prior to the release of the band’s full-length debut (we’re talking sometime in ’97 or ’98) and have followed him ever since.  Dalrymple’s songwriting has always been light-years ahead of his contemporaries and that is certainly the case here.  In This Mess is a record that in a lot of ways, is very hard to describe.  The songs are fun and catchy with lyrics that are intelligent and poignant, but at the same time this band really sounds like no one else.  Sure there are elements that are familiar, especially for fans of One Man Army’s last EP She’s An Alarm, but the totality of the record and the band is impossible to classify with one simple label or genre.  The main takeaway from In This Mess is that toyGuitar isan incredibly talented band that writes fun and high energy songs that are complex in their simplicity and powerful in their honesty.  

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