Have you ever heard of Toy Mountains? This Scottish post hardcore project once again shows that the UK has a very prosperous scene when it comes to good underground music. Their new record was released on November 25th via Crooked Noise Records and promises an interesting mix of music.
Let’s start with the optical impression. The artwork shows a single raining cloud painted on a black, spacey background. No logo, name or title. This minimalist style truly matches Toy Mountains‘ music, but there is also a subtle depth to the art and the record. I Swore I’d Never Speak Of This Again starts with solo drums, which are soon joined by the guitars, bass and vocals. “Hard Done By” stands out with rousing guitar chord work and a creative tension, which crests and falls throughout the song. Beside the more calm verse, there is a catchy chorus and a fast paced ending. The band works a lot with clean singing, but shouts add intensity and emotional impact to heavier sections.
Something unique about Toy Mountains is their use of piano. For example, the second song, “Full Circle”, starts with a patient piano passage. It feels a little improvised and, due to its very organic sound, brings in a huge amount of authenticity. For sure, the band could have separated this interlude from the following song, as the transition is a bit unexpected. Nonetheless, this choice ends up keeping things exciting.
Toy Mountains work a lot with tremolo guitars and ambiance. Some clean sections and bass lines are even a little reminiscent, interestingly, of Between the Buried and Me. The atmosphere on I Swore I’d Never Speak Of This Again is truly amazing. At some times, Toy Mountains sound a little like a standard melodic hardcore band mixed with catchy choruses, as bands like Capsize do. What sets them apart from their peers, however, is their understanding of creative tension and incorporation of diverse influences. Some parallels to Dance Gavin Dance may even be drawn.
The Love of My Life
“Everything Ends” starts off with blast beats, setting a stage for a heavier, more progressive side of the band. This song also perfectly leads into the beginning of the last track of this record. Again, it starts with piano playing that offers a moment of repose. After building up with some clean guitars come the emotive vocals. “Sight Reading“ builds up with the emotional voice of the singer until the phrase “the love of my life” sounds.This slow-paced song is a truly emotional one, based on its lyrics as well as the passionate vocal and instrumental performances.
I Swore I’d Never Speak Of This Again closes in a way that is powerful and authentic. Toy Mountains incorporate progressive tendencies, strong songwriting and diverse influences into a sound that is emotional, catchy and exciting. Though the record is called I Swore I’d Never Speak Of This Again, this title says nothing about listening over and over.
Notable Tracks: “Hard Done By”; “Sight Reading”
FFO: Capsize, Dance Gavin Dance, Artifex Pereo