It must be a world record for CD re-issue gestation, problems with record companies, missing master tapes and a five way democracy all with the power of veto, but fifteen years after it was first mooted I finally have a CD reissue of the Toy Love album in my hand.Yes…..I do have in my possession, courtesy of the outer reaches of Rupert Murdoch’s empire, the mighty “Cuts”, a double disc set comprising the original album and singles on disc one, all remastered to some degree, and a second disc of bits and pieces, some released (like the AK79 tracks) and some unreleased. It comes out on Anzac Day I’m told (does that have some significance…if so I can’t figure out what it is but how does one release on a public holiday?) and it deservedly is gonna be huge and travel around the world. The record company woes for Toy Love go back to the early days, and, as far as I can gather no actually knows who owns this stuff. I would imagine Warners own the first single but probably have no idea they do and after all the grief, its warming to see that this album is copyrighted to the band.
Toy Love were a fucking wonder, they really were. I remember the day the Enemy arrived in
Legend has it that the Toy Love album was a disappointment. Little bit of revisionism going on there….I disagree. I hated the sleeve..still do (I was never a fan of Toy Love’s graphics but that’s’ neither here nor there..good videos though in an era when crap videos were the rule) but what was inside it worked for pretty much everybody at the time. It sounded rough and unpolished and the production was a bit ropey but that was Toy Love live..they always sounded rough as guts but it was about the show…nothing could hope to faithfully capture Mike Dooley’s machine like pounding or Jane’s incredible cascades of sound on vinyl. Toy Love, as a unit were simply uunbelievable live..every single one of them..but working as cohesive chaos with an obvious expiry date built in. No band could perform like that and last. I like the remaster on the disc (no remix as the masters are AWOL) but I pulled out the original vinyl and I think despite it all I kinda like the 1980 issue more aurally..it's warmer and sparkles a bit more. But the band doesn’t like it and that’s fine with me…
The demos on disc two give you an insight into that and I’ve got a few live tapes somewhere (including one recorded by Nigel Russell and little brother Harry “Ratbag” which has a killer take of Shocking Blue’s “Venus” and another of the rarely performed "Positively 4th St"into "Yummy Yummy Yummy"…Toy Love did quite a few covers) which bring a nostalgic tear to my eye..although the tapes are rough and I think you kinda had to be there to listen to them
The influence of these five, working as a band, is massive….Flying Nun later on of course…but the influence went way beyond that. I’d done a record with the Suburban Reptiles but it was Toy Love that inspired a whole lot of us to start labels and you can draw a line from Toy Love to the likes of The Meemees, Car Crash Set and Body Electric and the whole indie pop explosion of the eighties. They changed attitudes, the way we did things and approached our lives...they added humour, anarchy and a fuck you to the next two decades and NZ would've been a lessor place without them
soooo....wicked…a brand new Toy Love Cd to play loud….my daughter has already asked me to take it off