Order of the Toad

Always happy to see some familiar names pop up together in collaboration and this eccentric pop nugget from Order of the Toad brings together The Wharves’ Gemma Fleet and Robert Sotelo, who released a gem of an album for Upset The Rhythm last year. Their combined talents pick at a few fun pockets of sound — mixing psych-pop and the occasional dip into propulsive disco swing with a grandiose, Baroque approach that positions them as the Left Banke or Ultimate Spinach of indie pop. Every band today dreams of the Ultimate Spinach name drop, no? Strums and jangles trade their place with ceremonial stabs of organ. The vocals swap swiftly between Fleet and Sotelo with the former reaching for the higher registers that stretch for a heighten pop excess that’s picking up the English folk fascination of the ‘70s and threading it through the glam-wrapped excess of the following decade’s decadence.

Plenty are treading in the waters of psych-pop, but these days there’s something of a slickness that infects quite a few or a retread element that feels like paying homage to an almost exacting degree. Like their fellow UK psych exports Wax Machine, this one feels like its made by voracious devourers of the past who weave the ends of their obsessions together into new strains of psych sickness that continue the traditions of generations past rather than just look to scan and print a reasonable facsimile. Though they don’t let the occasional foray into the lysergic pool drown them in the genre. The tone shifts and the trappings skitter between aesthetic poles, but that only makes the album all the more dizzying and delightful. This one gets under the skin nicely.



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