The Changeling Review
Elfin Efficiency 

Oppressed by the ordinary - and her own ordinariness - Toyah, bless her, keeps on declaring that the extraordinary exists. Fundamentally good natured, completely non-cranky, a conformist in the sweetest kind of way, the lady Hayot forces upon herself an unlikely confused romantic pessimism "The most merciful thing in the world", she tries to say, "is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents." 

All her songs - and they bleed into the world with formidable consistency - are based on the basic lore or legend that this world was inhabited at one time by another race who in practising black magic lost their foothold and were expelled, yet live on outside, ever ready to take possession of this earth again. Those of you who recognise the saggy skin of HP Lovecraft hanging around Toyah's waist are of course correct: Toyah bursts open and collapses in on herself in a terribly vain attempt to mimic Lovecraft's "guerrilla warfare against civilisation and materialism". Life, she wants so much for everyone to believe, is for her a hideous thing - when really she's truly the content cat. 

At times during 'The Changeling' it seems as if Toyah is cultivating a defiant self mockery, as if she is totally aware of her own delightful phoniness - there are glimpses of someone at work setting themselves up as a perverse pop-art object and taking a surrealist delight in watching people's over-serious response to it. Most of the time, though, it's obvious that Toyah is a daft, happy young girl who is beginning to seriously believe that she has a meaning all of her own - 'the world can be transformed by play acting and ideals.' 

Whichever way - cheeky and knowing or simple-minded and desperately over-ambitious - 'The Changeling' by Toyah reaches the type of irresistibility her previous LPs never did: of the second rate new pop entertainers, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Classix Noveaux, it is Toyah that is the most likeable, because her arrogance is beautifully stated and maintained, never limp. The best song on the record, 'Run Wild, Run Free', is classic Toyah: massively over compensating, done in a way Bauhaus wouldn't know how, and featuring a type of arrogance that doesn't cause titters as it usually does but a strange dizziness: "I'm devious / I'm small / I'm impeccable / I'm a warrior / I'm immaculate / I'm imperial / I'm unique / I'm inscrutable / I'm gonna break free." 

Now that's lovely. I could almost believe her. 

Paul Morley
12th June 1982