In This Mess

Fat Wreck Chords

Rating: 3.5/5




toyGuitar may stem from the Swingin’ Utters branch of the family tree, but the sunny buzz-pop four-piece sounds far closer to the beach than the alleyway.  Listeners stand to be pleasantly surprised by the band’s atypical feel for being part of the Fat Wreck Chords family.  Combining lead vocalist Jack Dalrymple with Mike’s Peck’s infectiously repetitive guitar rhythms makes for a product far closer to what one might imagine as the bastard love-child of Dead To Me and The Hives.

In This Mess hits like a freight train of upbeat garage-rock riffs with enough distorted, feel-good energy to inspire a flashmob.  The formula is simple: hammer out buzzing, rhythmically propelled verse upon verse of swanky, hip-shaking guitar paired with shouty calamity.  Mild 70’s roots on uptone songs like the title track and “Let’s Talk In The Shower” suggest an faint indebtedness to early Iggy And The Stooges, infusing a retro-flare during the quick moments.  Slower selections like “Static Attraction” and “On A Wire” fair just as well, trading in the energy-drink hyperactivity for a buffet of ear-grabbing hand claps, rumbling basslines, complimentary “ooo-ooh” harmonies and a suggestively tropical aura.  The sunny day vibe shouldn’t be understated, with tracks like “When It Was Over” and “Roller Coasters” thriving in the midst of lounging mexi-guitar solos that you’d expect to hear drifting lazily from Fat Mike’s personal beach-side cabana.

In This Mess is a remarkably simple yet cohesive debut.  toyGuitars sound as if the collaboration must have realized they had struck studio gold and just gunned it.  The album blasts through confidently, tying all the fun tightly together across twelve varyingly paced tunes.  The energy is infectious, and even with a high level of repetition, never feels like toyGuitars are retreading familiar ground.  An easy listen and safe bet for those looking for something fresh and unexpected.