The Toads

/self-released; 2001/

rating : 6.5 


The TOADS is a four piece band based in Marseille. Their demo contains four songs. The sleeve is nicely kitsch and makes me think of a sort of "Charlie's Angels" meets 70's gangster films artwork. It it a good point that they avoided to draw or take a photograph of toads for their logo. Conversely, someone has to tell them to write legibly the titles of the songs on the sleeve because is is obviously more convenient when someone reviews it.

Anyway, The TOADS must be the only French band whose frontman's way of singing reminds one of Mark E. Smith (The FALL). Fortunately, he doesn't have a French southern country accent but rather a Northern English coal miner one. He doesn't really sing, he shouts, scans or chants I dare say (even if the lyrics are quite incomprehensible I doubt that they praise any kind of religion). The raucous, rattling voice conveys contempt most of the time because it seems restless. If the gring gushing voice echoes a 80's M.E. Smith, the music's strange arrangements unfortunately point at what The Fall made during the 90's. The guitar and bass evoke The Cure (at their beginning before they use all this new wave reverb sound) while the drums is rather rough and fidgety, full of dynamic fills. When you sing like that, you're immediately categorized as a M.E. Smith epigone but only few people dare sing like that. It requires guts. I think the music lacks roughness to match better with the rantings and the drums. These songs convey a lot of energy and some scorn though. I'm sorry to keep going on with this parallel with The Fall... but when you know how much this band felt marginalized when they started off, and when you know what kind of music is fashionable in Marseille, I don't know whether The Toads get on well with the local scene but I guess they might feel lonely there too...

"After having seen them live, I realized that their music has changed since the recording of this cd. Now, they seem to go towards 70's jazzrock..."

-Blacklisted Igor.