TOYAH 
Love Is The Law 
Reviewed By Richard Evans 

My passion for Toyah is well documented throughout this website. To me she is a chameleon character who has constantly evolved; from the punky near-jazz experimentation of her early work, through the well known pop-punk years of 'Anthem' , into an altogther darker, artier, gothic place with 'The Changeling' and then onto this album... 1983's 'Love Is The Law' which is now available on CD for the first time. 

It's obviously nearly impossible for me to nominate a favourite Toyah album, but if someone was to really push me then I would probably choose 'Love Is The Law'. Where 'The Changeling' was dark and brooding 'Love Is The Law' is celebratory and upbeat and although when it came out I would have bristled at anyone who tried to dismiss this as 'pop' music, hindsight reveals it to be a great pop album! 

'Love Is The Law' gave us two singles - 'Rebel Run' and 'The Vow', the first a solid, pop-rock song that checked all the necessary boxes for a Toyah single - upbeat, singalong and with an undertone of rebellion. A safe choice for a single but still a surprising one given the wealth of stronger tracks available on the album. As far as the charts were concerned it peaked in the twenties and vanished pretty quickly. 'The Vow' is definitely one of the Toyah classics that never was... an emotionally charged ballad that exhibited a more mature side to Toyah and which showcased her voice to great effect over a wash of strings. It bothered the charts not at all, entering at around fifty and disappearing immediately. 

But the singles are only the tip of the iceberg here - this is an album sparkly with great songs, from the searing and plaintive epic rock of 'Broken Diamonds' to the balladry of 'Martian Cowboy' and it's an album that sounds bright and polished and confident, even now it sounds modern and (mostly) contemporary and twenty-two years later I find myself seduced back into the glittering sci-fi world is creates.  

I don't know if this will make any sense to anyone else but for me it's an album of light... the imagery is of stars and planets and space travel, of lights and lasers, of love and yearning over vast star-filled distances. A modern, even futuristic album unlike anything Toyah had done before. 

'I Explode' is an irresistable, fizzing, timebomb of a song, it's brash and upbeat and Toyah's voice is fully utilised from the growling pent-up aggression of the choruses to the moment of release where the song takes off and explodes in a flurry of synth tones.  

Where some of Toyah's albums seem to feature Toyah using different voices to give the songs drama and tension 'Love Is The Law' s tracks seems to be from one... one voice exploring futuristic visions with an optimism and enthusiasm that is sometimes absent on Toyah's early work. 'Time Is Ours' is one of my favorite tracks and, along with the sleek hypnotic 'Dreamscape' and 'Remember', sounds sure and confident, comfortable in this new direction. Toyah herself is is great voice and somehow sounds relaxed and happy... typical of Toyah the songs are full of drama; slow bits against fast bits, lyrics softly crooned against screams and shouts. 

The one track that doesn't quite work for me is the slightly dischordant 'Rebel Of Love' which sounds like a hangover from the more angst-charged 'Changeling' and seems out of place on this sleek album. 

This CD edition of 'Love Is The Law' also features five bonus tracks... one single, 'Be Proud Be Loud (Be Heard)' which bridged the period between 'The Changeling' and 'Love In The Law' but was never included on a studio album, with it's b-side 'Laughing With The Fools' and the b-sides of 'Rebel Run' and 'The Vow', all strong tracks in themselves which make this a fine album with decent extra tracks and no fillers. 

There was once a point in my life where I knew these songs so well I didn't actually need to play them... I could just think of them and hear them in my head, and although that time has now gone I've already played this CD edition enough times to start to think of these songs as old, and very good friends who I know I will never lose touch with again! 

www.remembertheeighties.com
April 2005