Something happens to a band when they reach the decade-mark of being in continuous existence: they reach that critical impasse of having to decide whether or not to endeavor in the same style they have been for the past ten years, or embark on a full-tilt exploration of the sounds that inspired them to be musicians in the first place. While most commercially successful bands err on the side of the former path and “copy and paste” the first half of their career onto the second half, there are a few acts that embark on the latter path and actually create some truly timeless albums. With Fambly 42, we see Toys That Kill endeavor to take both approaches simultaneously.
Starting out with fairly standard post-punk material that falls just under the two-minute mark, Fambly 42 hits it’s true stride about a third of the way in, entering into a longer, unique jam in the form of “Abort Me Mother Earth.” From here on out, Toys That Kill seem too loosen up their belt a few notches as the songs get longer in length. As the album progresses, we start hearing familiar tones of older albums as disparate in style and time as Exile on Main Street and Farm. Rather than trying to imitate these albums directly, Toys That Kill manage to channel more of an overall impression and feeling through the lens of the sound they’ve spent the last 10 years cultivating. The overall result is that the songs on Fambly 42 feel familiar and recognizable, yet still manage to bring something new to the sonic table. The last three songs take a hard tack towards more sentimental fare, but fear not, they resist the urge to lapse into power balladry.
What makes Fambly 42 most successful is the sincerity with which it’s delivered. Without airs, pretense, or gimmick, Toys That Kill deliver their new album as a toast to where they’ve come from and how far they’ve come. Cheers, boys!