Vertigo Records Album Review: IN THIS MESS by TOYGUITAR


(Over the past week we have been featuring the 25th Anniversary of Fat Wreck Chords and the tour some of their bands will be doing together this summer.  After giving this record a listen to quickly, I soon realized this is the best stuff, for my ears anyway, I’ve heard from that stable of artists.  I don’t know a damn thing about them, so I’ve sought out help from a few reviewers around the interweb for this week’s installment.  Well, from my initial listen, I sure like what toyGuitar are up to. – FATS)


No huge surprise toyGuitar features a few members of Swingin’ Utters, as this great debut full-length has a ton of that band’s energy and punk simplicity, not to mention the familiar treble-heavy production. But the similarities stop 11214255_869036879809181_6926012509142325159_nthere: toyGuitar add tons of fun power-pop elements and no shortage of sun-drenched surf-rock guitar flourishes on tunes like the great “When It Was Over” and “Static Attraction.” And they’ve saved the best for (almost) last: The second-to-final cut “Roller Coasters” is a sugar-sweet melancholy rocker that flies in the face of the all-rawk-all-the-time vibe the previous 10 songs worked so hard to convey. There’s a great mixture of sounds on In This Mess, the end result being a fully energetic and rocking album that is pure punk that is not heard often these days. And although they come from different sonic origins, we can’t help but think a short and sweet split record with toyGuitar and Joyce Manor would hit a pop-punk sweet-spot.



Although it has been out for a little while I wanted to do a review of this release from Fat Wreck, mostly because I think it is one of the best albums I have heard so far this year and also because I want more people to check it out. This is not some blazing punk rock record or hardcore record or anything like that but what it is, is downright good!

Straight from the press release for a little background:

The band is built on the sunny vocals of Jack Dalrymple (whom you know and love from his long tenure in Swingin’ Utters), who dragged his Utters cohort 11813392_885413621504840_7043234685844059095_nMiles Peck into the mix. The two eventually recruited their sometime Re-Volts bandmate Paul Oxborrow (“In the grand and time-honored tradition of band incest,” cracks Paul). To accompany the fuzzy vox, bouncy bass, and jangly guitars, the boys looked south from their Bay Area environs and pulled in the driving drum beats of Los Angeles sticks maven Rosie Gonce. Together, the foursome collaborated to churn out the most blissed out, full throttle album of beachy sounds you’ll hear ’til spring.

Beachy sounds does pretty much describe this album, it is upbeat, fun and very well put together and perfect for when you in the mood for some really good catchy music. Should I call it surf rock? I have heard from quite a few people who picked this up or downloaded it and have been hooked on it for weeks now telling others to do the same, so in that line of reasoning I am doing the same. Go and give it a listen.



If you were looking for a record to bring the summer to you a bit early, this is it. If you’re in the NYC snow and you need something to cheer up with to a bottle of whiskey…this is it. If you’re craving anything — anything at all from One Man Army, Dead To Me and Re-Volts — then this is the perfect substitution. Jack Dalrymple does no wrong. Every Swingin’ Utters fan can testify to that. And In This Mess justifies that statement. toyGuitar finally unchain their beast and if you found their EP to be anything close to awesome, then you’re in for a big treat.

Most of the album is packed with breezy, beach vibes. Calling it surfer-rock just wouldn’t do their sound justice. The opening salvo of “Human Hyenas,” “When 11800251_885413608171508_4413790723614453804_nIt Was Over” and “Is It True” feel like chapters split from one long-ass story built on Dalrymple’s carefree vocals amid a stint of decadence somewhere. Mexican riffs? Is there such a thing? If so, add that to heavy, catchy bass lines and you’ve got some pretty remarkable medleys. And if you just so happen to feel blue, start counting the rays of sunshine that’ll appear from nowhere because this joint is so fuckin’ cheesy and fun that you can’t help but bounce to it.

Dalrymple’s vocal styles mix so well and as inconsistent as he gets, it really works. Given the influences worn by the other band-members, In This Mess is a melting pot that comes together with great precision. The liberal and jangly tunes then swing to the more meek side in the latter half of the record and it’s in these slower tempos that moments of clarity appear. The album breathes more and it’s these less frantic segments that you really and truly begin to ToyGuitar.ceethreedom.01appreciate the tunes — and with a lot of sentiment. Feels like the days looking at skating rinks on the telly because there’s a calm drive that songs like “On A Wire” leave you with. Rock ‘n roll, but still so charming and relaxed. Quite a stark contrast to the madness that began the record.

The bubbly and emotionally lively aura are never lost and even when the dead-paced romantic jam “Until I Find You” unveils itself, there’s still so much energy to soak in. That sums toyGuitar up in a nutshell. Even at a snail’s pace, their music finds a way to kick you in the ass. Pleasantly so, at that. Highly recommended.