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
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!