Only Humans Nature
you just love Brummie pop icon Toyah Willcox for
her 1980s hits, then youre in for a rude
awakening. If you thought she was wonderful as
Calamity Jane, and adore her on the panto stage,
look away now. Because the 51 year-old singer and
actress has a new band so darkly disturbing that
it will send the unwary running for cover. The
Humans comprise Toyah, husband guitarist Robert
Fripp, bass virtuoso ChrisWong and REM drummer
Bill Rieflin. But dont expect an easy ride.
From the album insert image of a porcelain baby
doll smoking a cigarette to a setlist of songs
suggesting the future is bleak, this is edgy.
Remember the way Bowie deconstructed pop in Low
and Lodger? Toyah pulls off the same trick, only
more so. I love European film noir,
she says. Its a love affair reflected
in the album. Its bleak territory exploring
the deeper emotions that are only hinted at on
the surface. Weve stripped down the
traditional pop song, then rebuilt it, adding
things you dont hear on first listen, but
which later creep up and surprise you.
Certainly, the bands taster single, a cover
of Nancy Sinatras These Boots Are Made For
Walkin doesnt prepare you for the
stark sonic surrounds of the main course. And
what about that doll?
Despite all the efforts of the NHS, and
news coverage of the importance of a healthy
lifestyle, the tobacco industry causes more
damage than anything else on the planet,
she says. We had to use the doll because in
the USA, youre not allowed to show images
of people smoking. And its more disturbing,
too. We Are The Humans is released
tomorrow, a second album has already been
written, and theyll tour in February next
year. The real Toyah is back.
By Paul Cole.