Album Review: Melted Toys – Melted Toys

ATOZ_12in_WIDESPINEThe psychedelic-pop wake is currently making its second resurgence in the music scene with a vengeance, and it shows no sign of losing momentum. New bands are constantly emerging to join the in-crowd of synthesizers, airy vocals and blissed-out electronica. Melted Toys certainly runs in this circle, but this band lost its amateur status back in 2011 with their debut release, Washed & Dried. The EP drew positive attention, but here we are three years later when they’ve finally decided to grace us with their presence again for a self-titled full-length. If Melted Toys were a clique in school, they would be the kids that smoked weed behind the field house during study hall while still managing to make straight A’s—talented slackers. Partial blame for the three year hiatus fits right into the “talented slacker theory” as the band’s initial early work was lost when a laptop was left on a commuter train in their hometown of San Francisco. A fashionably late entrance is way cooler than being on time, so one could argue that these dudes are right on track.

Many have compared Melted Toys to the 80’s British cult favorite, Felt. The comparison is a fair one as the band draws heavily from Felt’s minimalistic guitar riffs, limited vocals, and an abundance of generally mellow vibes. This time around, Melted Toys does a nice job of staying true to their original sound while adding in new and experimental material. From the opening, Intro remains sans vocals albeit until the final twenty seconds when an indistinguishable audio clip is mixed over the synthesizer to conclude the song. Similarly, the album’s single, Blush opens with the sounds of children playing in a school yard and closes with the faint ringing of church bells. Rusty Santos (Panda Bear of Animal Collective) mixed the album and is more than likely responsible or at the very least, influential for this evolution. Compared to their debut record, the group does a respectable job layering their instruments, vocals, and electronics to transition into a more mature sound.

Melted Toys doesn’t excel with discernable lyrics. But that’s not really what’s on trial here. Most of the lyrics lie hidden within indistinguishable fragile wisps, but precision instrumentation is found elsewhere—from the percussion of Ole Haarstad to Daniel Rasado’s fluid guitar renditions. The appeal of Melted Toys is certainly its mood. It’s an album that begs to be played in chill-zones only. “A Postcard” shows up about halfway through the album and deserves the most attention. There’s a slightly more aggressive approach which helps to shed the last drop of melancholic pop and therefore conveys the most maturity. It’s from here that hopefully this quartet will continue to develop.

The trend of today tends to follow that of yesterday– films are more often than not remakes of an old classic; Fashion statements now come in the form of thrift store finds, and musicians are calling upon their forefathers to channel a resurrection of sound. But rather than sigh at the lack of originality, perhaps we should bask in the feelings of warm nostalgia with the rebirth of a period long since passed. A copy paste image is plagiarism, but imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. And it’s the latter that gives Melted Toys a respectable balance of vintage meets modern.

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