Album Review: Live at the Gluepot 1980 by Toy Love
Great, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 80 Based on rating 8/10
Toy Love were the vitally important transitional link between New Zealand's early punk rock scene and the remarkably vital indie rock community that would follow: lead singer Chris Knox and guitarist Alec Bathgate would go on to form the Tall Dwarfs, bassist Paul Kean would join the Bats, and roadie Ian Dalziel would work for Flying Nun Records, the label that brought the nascent New Zealand sound to the world. But while Toy Love's historical significance is firmly acknowledged, an accurate picture of what they could do musically was a long time coming; their sole, self-titled 1980 album was a botch disowned by the group, and it wasn't until 2005 that the anthology Cuts allowed the historically minded to hear Toy Love as they were meant to be heard. Live at the Gluepot adds more evidence of Toy Love's strengths to the canon; this is a monophonic recording of the band on-stage in Auckland during their farewell tour in the fall of 1980, and it demonstrates that tales of the band's frantic, energetic live shows were entirely accurate.
Though they existed for less than two years, Toy Love are immeasurably important to the history of New Zealand music. They helped inspire the creation of Flying Nun-- perhaps the most important independent label in the country’s history-- and last year their influence was recognized via induction into the New Zealand Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s odd, then, that for decades after their 1980 demise, their music was represented primarily by a record they didn’t even like.
For many years, Toy Love had a semi-mythical status in certain New Zealand music circles. The band, which evolved out of bratty punk act the Enemy in 1979, lasted only a couple years and released only one album, but over the years their legend grew, in large part due to the later success of several key members. Chris Knox became a hugely influential elder statesman of New Zealand’s independent music scene as a solo artist, as part of the superbly twisted home-recording duo Tall Dwarfs (with fellow Toy Love alumni Alec Bathgate), and as all-purpose music commentator/rabble rouser.