ALBUM REVIEW: The Toy Dolls – Episode XIII (Secret Records)
Forty years into their career, The Toy Dolls aren’t exactly going to be reinventing the wheel, and I’m pleased to say it’s business as usual for the trio, who were formed in Sunderland back in 1979.
This is the 13th studio album from the band who put the fun into punk with some irreverent songs and frankly brilliant lyrics at a time when it was becoming ever so serious.
Episode XIII sees the long-established line-up of Olga (guitar and vocals), Tommy Goober (bass) and The Amazing Mr Duncan (drums) serve up 11 tracks of fast-paced punk which will leave you with a smile on your face at the very least, and possibly make you laugh out loud.
Lotharios and liars seem to have been on Olga’s mind when penning this album, with typically entertaining results. After the obligatory intro things kick off in earnest with the bigamist’s tale Arthur Clark’s A Dark Horse (“Arthur’s in a world of sin/He’s bonked more birds than Errol Flynn”). More bullshit abounds on Benny The Boxer, who claims he beat Henry Cooper back in the day (“Boxing skill, he’s got nil, he can’t box, it’s bollocks”).
Waffle Woman, inspired by the sight of a mountain of said snacks being consumed in a Belgian café contains the wonderful line “she was such a shapely spouse, until she hit that waffle house”, while Knickers Off In Mykonos and Senor Benidorm are both about the Shirley Valentine-types who go looking for love on sunshine holidays.
The Toy Dolls early classic She’s A Worky Ticket is given a sympathetic re-working, while The Laptop Lifter is a salutary warning about leaving your computer unattended in a public place, and Christine’s Clothes about a cross-dressing acquaintance.
Richard Clayderman’s A Creep is a surprisingly vitriolic take-down of the celebrated pianist, of whom Olga’s evidently not a fan: “Richard makes grannies gulp and blush/French blonde knob/He ain’t no Bobby Crush”.
A couple of instrumentals prove yet again what a fine guitarist Olga is, in the shape of the traditional Latin standard El Cumbanchero and Until Next Time, which sounds like it should soundtrack a ‘70s cop drama set in Hawaii.
In a nutshell then, Olga’s musings on everyday life continue to entertain and amuse, and I’d love to see some of these songs slotted into their set for the 40th anniversary gigs they’re playing next year. If you’re a convert to The Toy Dolls’ sense of the absurd, you’ll dig this groove baby. 7/10.