Album: "White Lights"
Label: A Different Drum (2003)
Style: Synth-pop
Songs: 15


Reviewed by: Darklight

T.O.Y. (Trademark of Youth) was once a dark EBM band known as Evil’s Toy. Over the years their sound started morphing into synth-pop. Volker Lutz (vocals) was no longer interested in making dark EBM, and wanted to focus only on synth-pop. But Thorsten Brenda (music) didn’t agree with that direction and ultimately pulled out. So Volker brought on Oliver Taranczewski and Cordula K. to make the music for the project. Still known as Evil’s Toy, they released an album entitled Silvertears. It was pure synth-pop in sound without featuring any similarities to the band’s past music. Realizing that the project’s sound had changed so drastically, the band felt continuing as Evil’s Toy just didn’t seem appropriate. So they dropped the "Evil’s" from the title and decided to just call themselves "Toy". But for legal reasons, they couldn’t call themselves "Toy". So they made toy into an acronym for Trademark Of Youth. Their first CD under the new moniker was called Space Radio, and was basically a continuation of the sound found on Silvertears. And this follow-up entitled White Lights is basically a continuation of Space Radio.

I have to admit that when I first saw the cover for this CD, I had no idea that it was a T.O.Y. release. First of all, the font used for their name has been completely changed from their two previous releases. Secondly, there’s a photograph of a Barbie type doll in a pink outfit wearing sunglasses bent over exposing her white panties. Basically, this looks like an album cover for a techno CD. After my initial shock of the CD’s cover wore off, I was in for another surprise…Cordula K. is no longer with the band. While the new font, strange choice of CD cover and absence of Cordula K. made me think that the band might have gone in an entirely new direction with their sound, as soon as I put the CD in my stereo and pressed play I realized nothing had changed.

Since T.O.Y.’s previous release Space Radio had a lot of slow sugary sweet love songs on it, I was fearful that this CD would as well. Thankfully, the duo has decided to compile more of a club CD this time. Just about every song offered here is a dance track. There are some more relaxed moments for variety, but they’re never so sappy that they’ll make you want to skip them.

All of the music contained on this CD is 100% electronic. The programming is energetic and layered with a multitude of different sounds, effects and beats over dramatic melodies. Everything is textured and full giving off a nicely polished sound that flows smoothly. Volker’s vocals are deep and have a somewhat thick German accent. He sings with a lot of range and melody along to the music perfectly.

This CD offers a lot of variety. There are dance tracks, relaxed tracks, remixes and even a song with guest vocals provided by Steffen Keth of De/Vision. The real surprise here is that there are two songs that are not T.O.Y. songs. The final two bonus songs are by 18 Summers and !bang Elektronika. The reason that they’re on the CD is because they’re remixed by T.O.Y.. They fit perfectly with the rest of the album, and are really good club tracks. But if you want them, you have to get the CD fast because they’re only available on the limited edition release.


Album: "Space Radio" (2001)
Label: Drakkar Records
Style: Synth-pop
Songs: 14


Reviewed by: Darklight

T.O.Y. (Trademark Of Youth) used to be known as Evil’s Toy. However, the band decided to change their name since they no longer create dark EBM. If you heard the final Evil’s Toy album ‘Silvertears’, then you know exactly what to expect from this ‘Space Radio’ CD. Basically, this is clean and polished synth-pop music with multi-layered sound programming, emotional melodies and smooth deep accented male vocals.

What allows T.O.Y. to shine is that they really do a good job of making each song stand out. There are energetic club tracks, moody emotional pieces and slow love ballads here. The variety is superb, and really shows off the talents and skills of these musicians.

The music is pure electro with meticulously textured sounds, effects and beats playing over dramatic melodies while deep thick male vocals sing smoothly. Everything is mixed to perfection offering well developed structures that are tight and solid. There is a lot to hear and enjoy in this music. The songs have a nice polish to them without any rough edges.

My main complaint is that a few songs such as “Passion Game”, “Dream With Me”, “On My Way”, “Astronauts” and “Ausnahmezustand” are a little too soft and melodic for my tastes. They have a somewhat sappy romantic sound to them that is a little too sugary sweet for me. And since they take up half the album, they do bring down this overall recording a bit. Another problem I have is that the song “Do Dreams Bleed” from ‘Silvertears’ is remixed three times here at the end of the album. While the remixes are good, I feel that three remixes is a tad too many for the same song. It would have been nice if they had remixes for three different songs.

I have been an Evil’s Toy fan ever since they started recording music. I didn’t mind their slight change in sound over the years. I even enjoyed ‘Silvertears’ a lot as I felt that it was a very quality synth-pop album. However, while I also like the music on this album as well, the band is starting to go in an even more commercial direction with their sound that I don’t particularly care for. They are at their best when they are creating energetic upbeat synth-pop songs for the club floor. But their softer more romantic side somewhat bores me. I hope that their next album focuses more on hard driving club tracks and less on sugary sweet sappy love ballads.