Toyz, The Infinite Road, 2012
Okay, anyone who thinks instrumental music sucks, you are not getting it! Of course we have big names like Steve Vai or Joe Satrinani to prove you wrong, but now we can add this Dutch outfit Toyz to that. Not your typical guitar shredders by the way, but an album rooted in progressive rock and some sidesteps to spice things up.
Surprisingly turning out to have quite a history, with a debut EP released in 1998 to much acclaim, things went sour a couple of years later. But the desire to create music was too strong so a couple of years ago the band was resurrected and started work on this CD. Consisting of Arjan van Gog on keyboards, Robert van Kooij on drums, Jeroen van Boldrik on bass and Peter van Heijningen on guitars. And maybe because the latter is the principal songwriter in the band, we get some great tracks in which the guitar gets center stage.
But as I said earlier, this is not a shredder album. Instead we get many songs with a story, where feel and groove are never far away. Yes intricate soloing, but I never once thought a song was just a vehicle to flex some muscle. Keyboards and guitar serve as singer, and sometimes let it rip. Moods shift from progressive, to latin rock, to ambient and back, but never a dull moment. Excellent job!