|Angel & Me||***|
|Life in the Trees||****|
|Run Wild, Run Free||***|
|Brave New World||***|
All songs written by Wilcox/Bogen, except "Dawn Chorus" by Wilcox/Bogen/Spalding
Toyah Willcox: vocals
Joel Bogen: guitar
Phil Spalding: bass
other musicians unknown
Produced by Steve Lillywhite
This review was written from a prog rock perspective...
While better known to the prog community as Mrs Fripp, Toyah Willcox had a solo career of her own and one more commercially successful than her spouse's. Since the late eighties, she has been concentrating more on acting and then TV presenting, her main work these days. She presented a late-night discussion programme on sex, "The Good Sex Guide Late", and was somewhat open about her own behaviour, conjuring up images of Robert Fripp that may leave you unable to listen to King Crimson in the same way again! :)
Having enjoyed her acting work and with vague memories of her eighties singles, I sampled a few Toyah albums, including 1982's The Changeling. Sadly, I was disappointed. While Willcox is an expressive lead vocalist—sort of a coarser version of Cyndi Lauper—the album is a poor example of turn of the decade rock.
Much of the music relies on Willcox' admirable vocal histrionics. In combination with reasonable songs, as for the beginning of side two, they can be quite effective. Yet interesting vocals alone cannot support uninteresting melodies like "Creepy Room", "Castaways" and "The Druids". Her backing band—notable for including Phil Spalding, later of GTR—are all competent enough and there is some occasional nice work, particularly from the drums, but, again, not enough to rescue the poor material.
This problem of boring songs is compounded by their almost non-existent musical development, with the lyrical narrative taking precedence. The predominant science fiction/fantasy lyrics would fit right into seventies prog, but were already cliched by 1982.
Henry Potts, 7 Jan 98
Posted to rec.music.progressive; in response to my review was the following from David Robin (8 Jan 98):
I find it really amusing that Toyah has made its way to this newsgroup, because I was the original drummer who put the band together with the original guitar player Joel Bogen, back in 1975. I stayed with Toyah for around two years, playing pubs and clubs (way before she met Fripp. In fact she said she was gay at that time) while developing most of the material for the first 2 albums.
If I remember correctly we all loved prog, except Toyah who loved punk rock. Great times though, good memories!
Originally posted to rec.music.progressive.
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