Toyah – Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! (2021 Remaster)
Cherry Red Records
Release date: 13/05/2022
Running time: 61 mins
Review by: Alun Jones
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.
This review has been presented to you by Platinum Al and Ever Metal.