Toaster ~ Buy Both and Feel Deceived

Re-issue! Re-package! Re-package! Re-evaluate the songs… Slip them into different sleeves, buy both and feel deceived? It’s not everyday an electronic artist names a record after a quote from a Smiths song, but it’s a pretty good way to put the cards on the table, upfront. This is not all-new material from Toaster, but is the union of two EPs from 2010 and a couple of bonus tracks. I’m not sure how many downloads Toaster sold of the initial releases but it’s probably not too big a leap to suggest that there is still a market out there for this collection, who don’t already have the Vacation and Fuck You, Hippie releases. Even if they did, the equivalent of the ‘extra track and a tacky badge’ comes in the shape of some twenty minutes of fresh music in the shape of “Adroit” and “Assumption”.

Toaster’s line of electronic music-making drifts between the atmospheric, ambient drift of “Are You Going To Kiss Me” and the pacier beats and old school feel of “Speaker’s Valise”, with much of the middle ground also covered. The tracks vary considerably in terms of feel and sound, and not just because they are plucked from different sources in the shape of original releases. It is often hard to discern an original voice for Toaster; just when one has got the hang of him as a fine purveyor of creepy moods, he throws in a bright and breezy diversion, which spoils the moment. Although it’s easy enough to listen to the album without ticking off a checklist of possible influences, it is a struggle to ascertain what the aim of Buy Both and Feel Deceived is.

Here’s the nub of the matter; whilst Toaster has produced some strong individual tracks, they don’t necessarily sit together well enough to make a powerful statement of intent across a CD-length release. In fact, it’s almost tempting to split the tracks up to make fresh, bespoke EP length releases – and, crucially, these would have no bearing on the original EPs either, for it would appear that the problems with this album are just the issues with the initial releases, only magnified across the longer format. This is a flawed introduction to an artist who at this stage still seems to be finding his own sound; and yet there’s plenty of promise herein. It’s the beatless, atmospheric tracks that work best, particularly the lengthy closer “Assumption”, and an album of that style would definitely be worth investigating. For now… well maybe, you just haven’t earned it yet baby. (Jeremy Bye)

Available here

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