So Mellow They Start to Melt: A Melted Toys Review

So Mellow They Start to Melt: A Melted Toys Review

Adriana SaboMonday,4 August 2014

The Snap:

Melted Toys is a quartet form San Francisco that turns its attention towards the sound of the eighties – more precisely, to the sound of synth pop. Jumpy beats, fun, catchy melodies, flowy guitars and, of course, extensive use of synthesizers are all the qualities of their music that will make you have a flashback to some thirty years ago. Many critics compare them to the British band from the era – Felt – that obviously influenced their minimal expression and the general laid back vibe that their music gives out. We first heard of them in 2011, when they released the EP titled Washed & Dried, and we had to wait for three years for them to check in again. This time, they created a full length, self titled album.

The Download:

Melted Toys by the Melted Toys brings about the same boyish positive energy the EP did. A critic at the Pop Press International shared an excellent observation (that I just have to quote), stating that, “if Melted Toys were a clique in school, they would be the kids that smoked weed behind he field house during study hall while managing to make straight A’s – talented slackers.” This is precisely what they are: aware of their talents, but sometimes a bit too lazy to do anything with it (hence, the three year break). Their music paints this type of mood perfectly: a sunny, warm Sunday afternoon, four boys sitting on a grassy plane somewhere, too comfortable to move. And the whole scene (or a picture) is put through a filter, giving the moment a vintage atmosphere.

In the same way, one could say, their music draws on the pop hits of the eighties, but it has a distinctly contemporary, modern feel. It’s like in the eighties, but not really. The single, titled “Blush,” represents the whole album perfectly. It starts with the sound of children playing, laughing and screaming, with a jumpy beat introducing the guitar and vocals that simultaneously “sing” the leading, catchy melody. It’s like the whole song is speaking about high school kids, having fun and not caring about anything in the world. This is why the metaphor about Melted Toys being a clique smoking weed works so well: their music seem to speak precisely about this period of our lives when we don’t have a care in the world and we are definitely not aware of the consequences of our actions. Everything is fun and positive.

The general feel of carelessness is enhanced by the fact that you can’t actually understand most of the lyrics. Thanks to the mastery of Rusty Santos who mixed the album, the voice is treated like an instrument. It does not act as a means to transfer a message, but instead it contributes to the sensation of being free. Similarly, “Observations,” another track form the album, cements the feeling of somewhat melancholic happiness. Everything is there: the steady beat, synthesizers and the slightly distorted guitar.

One down side to the album is that most of the tracks sound alike. There are, of course, some subtle differences, but after listening to it for a while, most of the songs start to merge. One possible reason – and a trap that is not easily avoided – is the absence of understandable lyrics. Because, if there are no lyrics you can follow, all of the “hard work” of keeping the listener interested falls on to music. And it is almost impossible to make every track memorable and unique. Nevertheless, Melted Toys is one of those albums you should have around when going on a road trip, or when you are simply seeking to relax and rest your, normally hard working brain cells.

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Hat Tips:

SoundcloudPitchfork, Pop Press International, Image Credit: Flickr*

 

* Converted from color to black and white



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