The Fancy Toys - Gypsy Eyes

Owain Paciuszko 03/03/2009

Rating: 3/5

Somewhere between Terry S. Taylor's soundtrack to the video game Neverhood - all quirky folk - and Brighton-based gypsy punk covers band Django Spears via the cute-pop of The Boy Least Likely To, there's a sweet charm to this debut limited EP from James Duncan and Mickäel Téo, aka The Fancy Toys.

There is something a bit too crisp and clean about it all though, imagine Beck's breakthrough album Odelay but with the edges sanded down and a bit too much spit and polish taking the seemingly stream-of-consciousness spark out of it. Whilst Immoral mixes its twinkling vibraphone and retro-lounge sound off of its Spanish-tinged guitar, in a manner similar to the brilliant French artist M, it doesn't quite have that magic alchemy that comes so effortlessly to other musicians.

Flower Child swings erratically from being a really good atmospheric Mariachi number battling with energetic guitar and bongo to being a slightly cheesy Reggae groove. Claire Obscure works with a slower pace and a feeling similar to Jon Brion's production, before developing into a very European ballad.

The album ends (pre-radio edit) with a theme for the band - it's called Fancy Toys - and it's a bouncy pop number with nods to Vaudeville and Mary Poppins, and it's annoyingly forced in its madcap, quirky nature with lyrics about shooting monkeys in the bum and would probably please small children.

Overall there's a nice approach muddled up in here, but very little that lasts once the EP is ejected.