Review & Photo Gallery: Toy + The Proper Ornaments + The Grafham Water Sailing Club @ The Rainbow – 21/02/2014

Touring with The Twang has been extremely beneficial for The Grafham Water Sailing Club. A year ago today (okay, a year minus a day), they played their second ever show at the same venue supporting now-defunct North East quintet, The Chapman Family. Since then they’ve noticeably tightened their (incidentally bass-tastic) set, refining their live instrumentals and transitioning fluidly between their songs. As a band they’re moving more, they’ve finally turned up those vocals, and they’re evidently more comfortable with enjoying themselves. As ever, Feelin’ Blue and the wonderfully and jubilantly extended 90° are highlights and they close on the superb The Butcher of Barcelona.

Tour support The Proper Ornaments follow. The ‘other band’ of Veronica Falls’ James Hoare, it’s lo-fi 60s guitar pop which flits from The Byrds to The Free Design, from whom they took their name. It’s a good choice of support for Toy who probably share many of the same reference points, but it isn’t massively interesting and by contrast, Toy are more interesting than ever before.

Now able to pick from their two full length albums (2012’s eponymous debut and 2013’s follow up, Join the Dots), they begin with the intricately crafted majesty of Conductor and Colours Running Out. It’s a 13 song set which carries their pop moniker Endlessly in the centre and which traverses mechanical motorik and krautrock until Join the Dots at the close. The sound is a little off, making it difficult to pick out the individual instrumentation which has obviously been pored over, however it’s more coherent than ever before and overall it’s a performance their obvious influences Syd Barrett and Neu! wouldn’t have much contention with. The Horrors were right to shout about this lot.

Photos: Wayne Fox @wayne_john_fox

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