TOYS THAT KILL - Shanked! (CD)
In the late '80s, F.Y.P started out playing fast, juvenile hardcore, gradually morphing into playing fast,sloppy pop. The bands benchmark release, 1993's Dance My Dunce, was a breath of fresh air. With spastic classics like "Vacation Bible School", 2000 AD, and "Fuck You and a Half", F.Y.P brought a juvenile sense of kiddy power into their sound. Singing about important themes like school lunches and ding-dong ditching, F.Y.P were the pinnacle of youthful pop aggresion. Toys That Kill evolved from the ashes of F.Y.P (F.Y.P named its swan song album "Toys That Kill" in 2000). spawning the new band the same way the band ALL grew off from the Descendents. F.Y.P's "Toys That Kill" album was a perfect appetizer for the first proper Toys That Kill album, 2001's melodic lo-fi punk masterpiece, "The Citizen Abortion". 2003's "Control The Sun" is just as strapping, and now the band returns with what is possibly their strongest release to date, "Shanked!" Also available on CD for listeners who prefer their raw punk diluted digitally, Shanked! is one of the finest albums of the new millenium. Toys That Kill manages to mix their juvenile sensibility with post-punk complexity to creat songs that both fans of simple raw punk and fans of innovative mature punk can worship. The lyrics are as tounge-in-cheek as ever, but also contain tinges of sorrow and politics that begin to creep in on their previous albums. Standout tracks include "Bomb Sniffin' Dogs" (Bomb sniffin' dongs at my door/My rabbits foot was their hors d'oeuvre), "They Tied Up All Our Lace" (And when the hearts are bumpin' and you still feel nothin/Just act real cool cause they do that shit on reality TV), and "31 Year Old Daydream" (The rain came down as i started this song/A song where i wanted to say all thats wrong/ About backstabbers and boring scenes/ But i'm a 31 year old daydream). The recording captures the band's live sound tremendously, not an easy task given the tenuous fine line Toys That Kill straddles between acuity and sloppiness. The temptation to record a band like Toys That Kill with super-clean production values and add distortion post production must weigh heavy on their engineers, but the production here sounds like much of it was done live. Many of the garage-rock bands of today rely on effects to achieve a lo-fi sound, but Toys That Kill's production seems to focus on making the records sounds as authentically like the band's live show as possible. Having seen Toys That Kill perform three times (once on each coast and once in the Midwest), I must note that they are simply amazing live. F.Y.P were always too sloppy for comfort at their concerts, oftentimes so off that their fans couldn't even tell what songs they were playing. Unlike FYP, Toys That Kill is one of the best live bands of our time, delivering the goods consistently, whether it's at a show in their hometown or on the road. Shanked! is as fine an introduction to Toys That Kill as any. Let's hope their next three albums are essential as the initial trilogy.
TOYS THAT KILL Shanked! CD-REC101