Toy Tin Soldier: Toy Tin Soldier

~ Friday, 5 November 2010
TTS are a wee bit of a Scottish super group with members of the band also playing with The Proclaimers, Horse and Mr Kil to name but a few, so it would be fair to say that there is a fair bit of expectation on the bands shoulders. The band is primarily a vehicle for the songwriting talents of Joe Gallacher. The Blantyre lad headed to Brighton to serve his musical apprenticeship which included joining up with the guys from Turin Breaks before heading back to Glasgow with a head full of songs and a new found maturity to his voice and writing approach.

The album kicks off with the mellow Only Pictures, a song with soulful undertones added by the hammond playing of Greg Barnes, which would happily grace any Elbow or Embrace album. On 18 they re-enforce their soulful credentials with a beautifully crafted and laid back ballad where you can hear the influences Gallacher picked up working with the guys from Turin Breaks.

The whole vibe of the album is a laid back affair even when the tempo is picked up like on the sublime Hey Politician and country tinged Bright eyes. Giving Hey Politician a run in the 'best track' stakes is the beautifully fragile Not Surprised. A song that is built on the simplicity of Gallacher's voice which exudes a particular purity and sweetness on this song while the melody acts only to cast a hypnotic spell. Beautiful.

The album closes on the sweeping Send Up A Flare which is infused with an epic pomposity that provides a classic ending to a mighty fine debut. While the songwriting and musicianship throughout is faultless, at times the production lets the whole thing down with the vocals sitting to far back in the mix and the electric guitars being to prominent but this is a minor quibble on what could be on many peoples 'album of the year' lists.

[][][][][] (5/5)