Toyah – Album Review

Toyah – Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! (2021 Remaster)

Cherry Red Records

Release date: 13/05/2022

Running time: 61 mins

Review by: Alun Jones

8.5/10

Now, your first question may well be: “How did Platinum Al manage to slip a Toyah review onto a Rock/Metal website?”  Well, dear reader, let me tell you a story.  The first time I ever saw Toyah live was at a local club, where the dynamic lady herself was backed by the mighty Girlschool.  All of these fearsome females put on an explosive show, comprising of ultra-rocked-up originals from both artists and classic rock covers.  So yes, Toyah is more rock’n’roll than you (or I) will ever be.

To be fair, despite her pop pedigree, Toyah Willcox has always been more Bowie than Kylie.  And on this reissue of the 1980 live album, Cherry Red have presented us with a vibrant – even, dare I say it, rocking – bunch of post punk songs that show Toyah and her band in full flight.  The expanded deluxe CD set is packaged with a DVD featuring a contemporary documentary.  For this review though, we’re focussing purely on the music.

Happily, the production is top notch.  Remastered by Nick Watson from the original master tapes, the sound is formidable.  The instruments come through crisp and clear, and the vocals are excellent, as shown on ‘Victims of the Riddle’ where keyboards maintain a steady melody while lead guitar erupts with energy.  Likewise, bass and drums shine on ‘Love Me’ – it’s particularly impressive considering we’re dealing with a 40-year-old live album.

Highlights on “Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!” include ‘Bird in Flight’, ‘Danced’ (which reminded me of the Skids) and the occult war chant of ‘Ieya’.  Never truly dark enough to be goth, the songs here are more “Scary Monsters” with a generous helping of Hawkwind space rock, especially on ‘Race Through Space’.

Through it all, Toyah’s one-of-a-kind voice soars.  Toyah has never stopped writing and performing music, acting, presenting and so on; these days she’s famous for her lockdown YouTube videos performing kitchen-based rock covers with husband, King Crimson legend, Robert Fripp.  It’s great to hear “Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!” remastered and in pristine condition.  Even speaking as a vinyl purist, it looks like my ancient vinyl copy has had its day.

Check out Toyah on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or her own website thingy.

You can also investigate the many wonders offered by Cherry Red Records on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bandcamp and their own webalicious site.

This review has been presented to you by Platinum Al and Ever Metal.

Toyah – Live Review

Toyah

Saturday 27th August 2014

The Tivoli, Buckley

It was Saturday night, live music on at the Tiv from alternative 80’s legend Toyah – where was everybody?  The place was mostly empty!

Yes, it’s another live music review at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub – and this time we’re back to that old favourite, The Tivoli in Buckley.

I remember seeing Toyah Wilcox on Tiswas one Saturday morning, when I was about eight.  I thought she was cool (and a bit cute).  I’ve also seen Toyah live before at the Tiv, in the early 90’s when she appeared there with Girlschool.  So I got to hear a few of Toyah’s hits in a rocked up style, along with some Girlschool tunes and some covers (I remember a bit of Zeppelin in the set).

And many of my Virtual Hot Tub pals will also be aware of the time last year at Birmingham NEC Memorabilia, where I met the star in question.  She signed my old Official Toyah Annual and I grabbed a sneaky photo.

You can probably imagine that I was quite stoked to hear that Toyah would be performing just up the road in Buckley.

The date for the gig had been changed previously, so maybe this re-scheduling was to blame for the low turn out.  The Tiv was about a quarter full, prompting Toyah herself to declare “It’s like playing a private party!” – she was far from disheartened.  Toyah was in fine voice and full of energy, bouncing around on the stage.  Between songs, there’s a brief introduction which really does make the whole gig a very intimate experience.

Obviously we get the established songs: “It’s a Mystery”, “I Want to be Free”, “Be Proud Be Loud Be Heard” and many more.  Plus there are some welcome covers such as “Rebel Yell” and “These Boots Are Made for Walking”, which fit in really well with the more expected numbers.  The band are also very impressive and the whole performance is professional, but down to earth.

It’s over far too soon.  Despite a small audience, it was a great gig with a relaxed atmosphere.