toyGuitar - In This Mess (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


In This Mess (2015)

Fat Wreck Chords

If you were looking for a record to bring the summer to you a bit early, this is it. If you're in the NYC snow and you need something to cheer up with to a bottle of whiskey...this is it. If you're craving anything -- anything at all from One Man Army, Dead To Me and Re-Volts -- then this is the perfect substitution. Jack Dalrymple does no wrong. Every Swingin' Utters fan can testify to that. And In This Mess justifies that statement. toyGuitar finally unchain their beast and if you found their EP to be anything close to awesome, then you're in for a big treat.

Most of the album is packed with breezy, beach vibes. Calling it surfer-rock just wouldn't do their sound justice. The opening salvo of "Human Hyenas," "When It Was Over" and "Is It True" feel like chapters split from one long-ass story built on Dalrymple's carefree vocals amid a stint of decadence somewhere. Mexican riffs? Is there such a thing? If so, add that to heavy, catchy bass lines and you've got some pretty remarkable medleys. And if you just so happen to feel blue, start counting the rays of sunshine that'll appear from nowhere because this joint is so fuckin' cheesy and fun that you can't help but bounce to it.

Dalrymple's vocal styles mix so well and as inconsistent as he gets, it really works. Given the influences worn by the other band-members, In This Mess is a melting pot that comes together with great precision. The liberal and jangly tunes then swing to the more meek side in the latter half of the record and it's in these slower tempos that moments of clarity appear. The album breathes more and it's these less frantic segments that you really and truly begin to appreciate the tunes -- and with a lot of sentiment. Feels like the days looking at skating rinks on the telly because there's a calm drive that songs like "On A Wire" leave you with. Rock 'n roll, but still so charming and relaxed. Quite a stark contrast to the madness that began the record.

The bubbly and emotionally lively aura are never lost and even when the dead-paced romantic jam "Until I Find You" unveils itself, there's still so much energy to soak in. That sums toyGuitar up in a nutshell. Even at a snail's pace, their music finds a way to kick you in the ass. Pleasantly so, at that. Highly recommended.