Tuesday 17 December 2013


It's been a while since I wrote about Paris duo TOYS – the last time, in fact, was when they were kind enough to agree to an interview, back in June. Around the same time, TOYS shared a video for their new-at-the-time track, 'We Are' – an epic track with an equally epic, and strange, video that followed a strange guy who was seemingly able to bring people back from the dead. Before that, way before that, their song 'Noise' entered my ears and never left: it's still one of my favourites (and I urge you to check it out, too).

Just a little bit over a week ago, the duo were at it again – this time far from their native Paris. Filmed in New York City, their new video – for a song called 'Hey Boy' – showcases various yet connected subcultural pursuits of the city, namely: street art, skateboarding, basketball and breakdancing. All in glorious black and white, filmed up-close-and-personal to its participants, we have director Louis de Caunes to thank for this visual treat. For the music, however, we of course must look to TOYS themselves.

Beginning as a dreamlike trickle of haunting sounds, including a hugely glossy column of sub-bass surging its way through everything, the song soon gets an understated R&B-flavoured beat to drive it forward, complete with sandlike hi-hats and popping-gunshot snares. Vocal samples, from where I dunno, are rhythmically dropped into the song with increasing frequency as wide synth chords build up and up, joined by shots of sharpened electro buzz-bleeps. Everything becomes increasingly distorted by these all-engulfing synths, sounding like a white noise organ with a subverted atmosphere of urban consecration. With its laid-back yet intense atmosphere, 'Hey Boy' provides the perfect soundtrack to the city-based pastimes you see in its video, mirroring the frustrations and determination you can see on the faces of the video's protagonists. I want to hear and see more from these guys.

NB. The video, as nice as it is, has already racked up over 30,000 views in a week AND has been featured on Vimeo as one of their staff picks. Nice going!

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