San Francisco quartet Melted Toys announce their self-titled debut album, out July 15via Underwater Peoples. Mixed by Rusty Santos, (the engineer behind the controls for Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs, Panda Bear’s Person Pitch and numerous Warp Records releases) ‘Melted Toys’ blends plaintive pop with psychedelic electronica.
On July 15, Underwater Peoples will release the self-titled debut album by west coast group Melted Toys. Culminating three years after their acclaimed Washed & Dried EP first unveiled the group’s distinct blend of hazy, plaintive pop and psychedelic electronica, Melted Toys reigns in squarely as the group’s most definitive vision yet. Melted Toys comes on as a sort of sanctuary-in-transit, inspired both by the shifting visions of dreams and global travel, so that each of the twelve passages flicker and flame with equal impression.
According to the band’s biography, original members Daniel Rosado and Steven Harkins bonded over a shared joint while ditching P.E. class at their San Francisco high school. Subsequently caught and suspended, they bonded over music, and soon crossed paths with soon-to-be bassist from a high school nearby. This was third member Brian Wakefield, who rounded out the trio, (two guitarists, bassist and drum machine), as heard on the fantastic and spartan Washed & Dried EP (Underwater Peoples, 2009).
All over Melted Toys the casualness of this kind of musical unity laces the languid pop with an unpretentious melodic language. It’s both downcast and serene, resembling the catalog of mid-career FELT, where Maurice Deebank’s somber leads colored each and every detail, rather than just issuing showy statements at predictable intervals. Highlights along the album spark from timely synthesizer voicings as well, mixed in contrast against the shadowy mid tones of Wakefield’s bass and Ole Haarstad’s metronomic, motorik drumming style.
In Tapei specifically, the sounds and visions of surrounding villages inspired Harkins and his partner Isabelle to take in as much as possible, everyday setting out by foot, taxi or metro, walkman in hand, to discover and explore the region. These wanderings were soundtracked by Shinsei Kamattechan, Pootee’s Yen Kids Mix, Chris Rainbow and lots of J-pop artists.
Harkins says, and it helped imbue the travel time with a sense of musical voyage, too. Returning back to Isabelle’s parents flat, Harkins would then write songs on an old acoustic guitar that her father had used during his teenage stint playing in Taiwanese bands in the 70s. Most of the gold from Melted Toys was mined on this very instrument.
Mixed by Rusty Santos (who was at the controls for Animal Collective Sung Tongs, and several recent Warp Records releases), Melted Toys will be available digitally and physically on July 15.
Street Date: July 15, 2014
2. Bummed Out
4. Press A (Habitat)
5. A Postcard
8. Water Arches
9. Joy Fit
11. Come On
12. Citrus Honeymoon