Release Date: Jul 15, 2014
Record label: Underwater Peoples
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop
On their self-titled debut album, West Coast quartet Melted Toys sound like a lot of their contemporaries. Their lo-fi, wobbly indie pop approach is one that most of the Captured Tracks roster past and present has utilized; so have many others like Real Estate and a few stragglers on Burger and other labels. Inspired by the jangling guitar interplay of '80s post-punk icons Felt, never raising their voices above a somnambulant whisper, and generally sounding like a stiff wind would blow them over, the Toys give the nearly played-out template a gentle kick by dialing it down one notch closer to dream state.
As seems to be de rigueur for any contemporary indie rock band, Melted Toys embrace the sonic textures and aural palette of the 1980s. Unlike many of their contemporaries, however, they succeed in creating a sound very much in keeping with their influences, so much so that their self-titled debut sounds more like a reissue of some lost Sarah Records release than one released just this year. While there are a few tells here and there that indicate otherwise, one would largely be hard-pressed to provide an accurate assessment of just when Melted Toys was released.
San Francisco quartet Melted Toys make dream-pop for the waking life. Drawing upon 1980s jangle-drone touchstones from Flying Nun to 4AD (and contemporary variations thereof), their songs are made of radiant colours, clean contours, and propulsive rhythms—but behind the immaculate exterior lies an unshakeable mental fogginess. The band’s self-titled full-length debut feels not unlike embarking on a morning rush-hour commute on just three hours sleep—a sense of feeling simultaneously present and absent.
The first song post-intro on Melted Toys' self-titled debut album, "Bummed Out," has a good chunk of instrumental which can pretty much be considered a peppy cover of The Smiths' "Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before." This marks two things for the San Francisco-sprung group, which is following up its trio-led 2011 Washed and Dried EP with the now-foursome-run Melted Toys: one, it is a derivative band; two, it sounds close to a happy version of The Smiths. Psychedelic pop is the label the foursome is most tagged with, which would never be used in the context of The Smiths, and that is largely what distinguishes this band from that one. .