Toy Mountains give us something to talk about with their new EP ‘I Swore I’d Never Speak Of This Again’.
The Glasgow four-piece of Callum McClune (vocals, guitars), Greg Leyden (vocals, guitars), Grant Malcolm (vocals, bass) and Matt Cowie (drums) are approaching their defining moment and they know it. Their 2014 debut album ‘For A Few Seconds, Came Harmony’ was followed by the fiercer sound of 2016 single ‘I Could Care Less’, which generated support from Kerrang! Radio, Team Rock and the BBC Radio One Rock Show. Commenting on the release of ‘I Swore I’d Never Speak Of This Again’ (released on 25 November via Crooked Noise Records), the band say it’s “ultimately a culmination of where we all are in our lives – and all the triumphs and anxieties that accompany that. It details our experiences as twenty-somethings attempting to chase and a build a career in something we are all passionate about, whilst simultaneously being uncertain about the future.”
The last time I was regularly listening to this type of music – a blend of post-hardcore and emo – I was twenty-something and probably dealing with more anxieties than triumphs. Some of my memories are hazy, but I can clearly recall standing in sweaty venues being thrilled by bands like Glassjaw and The Used. With this EP Toy Mountains have happily transported me back to those days.
EP opener ‘Hard Done By’ begins with a melodic riff before layers of guitars and drums create a storm of sound. The vocals have a distinctive Scottish lilt as they convey simple and hard-hitting, but reflective, lyrics like “‘I’ve been lying to your face”. The second track is the first of two interludes and provides a gentle piano intermission, as the name ‘Piano Interlude’ suggests. It acts as a contrast to the short and sweet pounding of ‘Full Circle’.
‘Old Friends’ features a melodic and, at times, funky backdrop to the screams while falsetto vocals provide delicate moments that hark back to the interlude. This track sounds like an instant live favourite with chanted vocals at the end providing the ideal opportunity for a crowd to shout along with the band.
After another minimal sounding interlude, ‘Everything Ends’ changes pace and melody in a way that seems to tell a story – with each shift being a new scene – before hurtling straight into the epic soundscapes of ‘Sight Reading’. The intensity of this final track has a natural flow as the vocals and guitars merge and spiral upwards as one.
Toy Mountains can stop worrying – theirs is a post-hardcore sound that is as refreshingly arresting as it is comfortingly familiar. ‘I Swore I’d Never Speak Of This Again’ ensures we’ll be speaking of this band again.