The generation gap between step-father and son Tom Williams and Adam Franklin could have the Toy Horses sound a more unique blend. They cite a range of influences from The Libertines to ELO, and there is definitely a touch of ‘Mr Blue Sky’ in the rousing finale which features a flourish of swirling violins and vocoded voice. But it takes so long for ‘And It Was You’ to really get going, and leaves you feeling a little deflated even once it gets there. After one listen you’ll probably know the chorus inside out. You’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where each crescendo and pensive piano interlude is coming from; there’s no denying this feels like well-worn territory. Plenty might lap up Franklin’s melancholy-tinged lyrics and the band’s accessible sound, but on the back of the hype surrounding Toy Horses they must be playing their cards very close to their chests.
So far, they have attracted attention from BBC Radio 6 music’s Tom Robinson as well as music aficionados from further afield. Music director at LA’s KCRW Nic Harcourt invited the Welsh duo to perform on after a successful set at SXSW last year; given that the band have relied chiefly on Myspace exposure rather than the normal promotional channels, the level recognition and accolades they have accumulated is truly impressive.
Although tipped to be the hottest band to emerge on the indie scene this year, take this zealous praise with a pinch of salt. As first singles go this harmless radio-friendly material won’t offend anyone, but I can’t see it stopping listeners in their tracks either. Nevertheless, Toy Horses’s potential is undeniably present and there’s something quite likeable about this unpretentious, if a little clichéd, debut.
Toy Horses album is released April 11th and if you’re hanging around Southampton over the Easter break it would be worth catching them April 20th at the Soul Cellar.