• Toy Dolls, The – The Album After The Last One

    Released by: King Midas

    Released on: June 5, 2012.

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    The twelfth studio album from England long running three decade old The Toy Dolls (formed in 1979), aptly titled The Album After The Last One and their first since 2004’s Out Last Album? finds the band, still fronted by vocalist/guitarist Michael "Olga" Algar, in fine form. Despite countless lineup changes – they’ve had fourteen drummers and twelve different bass players in their thirty two year history – the band’s distinctive sound has more or less always come from its frontman and Olga’s stamp is all over this recording. Joined by Duncan "The Amazing Mr. Duncan" Redmonds on drums and Tom "Tommy Goober" Blyth on bass, The Album After The Last One contains thirteen tracks of fast paced street punk style rock ‘n’ roll (well, eleven if you don’t count the intro and outro and you’d be right not to) as well as three bonus acoustic tracks of Olga doing his thing solo.

    Now in his fifties, Olga still sounds like a young, snotty punk, using that sneering vocal style (which can switch from amusing and comical to incredibly irritating at the drop of a hat – but that’s part of the point) and the distinctive vocals hold up well once you get used to them (though obviously seasoned fans of the band will have no problem here). The guitars are fast and riff-centric, the bass is simple but steady and plenty chunky and the drums are on time and on target – in fact the band almost sounds a little too good here, the album is more polished sounding than some of their other work – but that doesn’t take away much from the fun that can be had.

    The band still sings about ‘slice of life’ issues that the everyman faces, starting with Credit Crunch Christmas, which is pretty much self explanatory and works White Christmas into the guitar solo to amusing effect. Tracks like Molly Was Immoral and Dirty Doreen both serve as tributes to the joys of wanton women while Sciatica Sucks is a nod to age. The highlights though are the sing-a-long numbers like B.E.E.R. and Don’t Drive Your Car, both of which are catchy as hell with the lead single Decca’s Drinking Dilemma (see the video below) coming in somewhere behind it (it’s a puzzling choice for a lead single, there are far better songs on the album). The band hasn’t really changed their sound here, and their fans will appreciate that. This album is the musical equivalent of pepperoni pizza – you more or less know what you’re getting if you’ve had it before and it’s not really going to surprise you much, but you don’t care because it’s good.

    The acoustic tracks are a nice touch. They don’t necessarily fit in with the fast playing that makes up the core of the release but they’re well done and let Olga at least try something different here. Olga hasn’t reinvented the wheel with this release and there is some filler here but the album is sure to bring a smile to the face of any Dolls fan and contains enough truly good material to make it worth a purchase.

    The complete track listing for The Album After The Last One is as follows:

    1. Olgamental Intro / 2. Credit Crunch Christmas / 3. Molly Was Immoral / 4. Sciatica Sucks / 5. B.E.E.R. / 6. Kevins Cotton Wool Kids / 7. Dont Drive Yer Car Up Draycott Avenue / 8. Dirty Doreen / 9. Down At The Old 29 / 10. Martys Mam / 11. Gordon Brown Gets Me Down / 12. Decca’s Drinking Dilemma / 13. Olgamental Outro

    And then there are the following three bonus tracks performed by Olga solo and done acoustically: 14. Fiery Jack / 15. Cloughy Is A Bootboy / 16. The Sphinx Stinks

    Collector’s note: The UK version of the album features two additional acoustic tracks: I’ve Got Asthma / Sunderland Celebrity while the Japanese pressing features a track called Arigato. These are not included on the US edition.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Nolando's Avatar
      Nolando -
      I like the pepperoni pizza analogy - perfectly suits such a band as The Toy Dolls.And I need that, "Keep Drinking, Get Drunk" parody t-shirt from the video...