Picks and Pans Review: Toy Matinee
Between this band and Human Radio, it has been a pretty good season for intelligent pop music. Toy Matinee, whose nucleus is made up of Patrick Leonard and Kevin Gilbert, manages to combine the instrumental acuity of Toto, the songcraft of Bourgeois Tagg and the production edge of Rupert Hine.
A listen to the sudden mood swings on "Things She Said" or the acoustic-electric counterpoint on "Last Plane Out" will convince you that their music is smartly arranged and presented. But that is to be expected from Leonard, who as a songwriter and producer has created many of Madonna's recent hits. He also composed superb scores for the films At Close Range and Heart Condition. Toy Matinee's songs are uncommonly literate. "Remember My Name" is dedicated to Czechoslovakian playwright-President Vaclav Havel. "Turn It On Salvador" is a tribute to artist Salvador Dali, with a little refrain that goes (of course), "Da da da da da da." This isn't the second coming of Steely Dan, but it is a refreshingly ambitious record. When Toy Matinee set their sights slightly lower, say, clever instead of brilliant, they offer an engaging listen. (Reprise)