Good Times Magazine
Rhythm Tracking

In The Court Of The Crimson Queen: CD Of The Year
by Jimi LaLumia

I must devote some space to what is, for me, the event of the year, a new CD, "In The Court Of The Crimson Queen" by UK pop/rock icon Toyah. She's been married to King Crimson founder/guitarist Robert Fripp since 1985, and the CD title is a play on Crimson's 'Court Of the Crimson King", a late 60s timepiece. Let's take a look, track by track:

SENSATIONAL: This is a thumping, rousing call to arms which showcases all aspects of Toyah's vocal stylings and range. Presenting a positive message, the tune is couched in updated 70s glam riffs, calling to mind T.Rex and Ziggy-era Bowie.

LATEX MESSIAH: This is the first track that appeared in the spring of 08, on You Tube, My Space and elsewhere, to let the worldwide faithful know that Toyah was back, full of sound and fury. This enjoyed a great deal of attention as her first digital only release ever, charting on the itunes rock countdown several months ago, it's another radio ready rocker.

HEAL OURSELVES: This is the tender side of Mrs.Fripp, this sort of material will be more apparent when her side project, The Humans (with R.E.M.'s current drummer) appears in 2009, hopefully. Toyah involves herself in numerous positive projects, so this sounds like a natural outgrowth.

LESSER GOD: This is a forceful vocal and vibrant track, she is currently performing it onstage in the UK as the Vampire Queen in "Vampires Rock", a stage show in which she is prominently featured. (The show is comprised of rock anthems of the 70s and 80s, and is going down a storm everywhere it plays. "Vampires" will hit Vegas in 09, it has been whispered...)

ANGEL IN YOU: So many bite size rockers on this CD, riffs galore while Toyah soars. This type of material is begging for a proper Toyah tour, perhaps after she's done with "Vampires" (Since her strings of success in the early 80s, Toyah has never done a U.S. gig, amazingly. Her UK label never managed to get her stuff released here, which is a sad loss for American rock fans.)

LOVE CRAZY: The particulars of Toyah's unique 'love it or hate it'' vocals are on display in this tune, and it is remindful of her 1982 classic album "The Changeling", which was produced by Steve Lillywhite, of U2 fame. This sounds like it would be another live stage favorite.

BAD MAN: This is a slower 70s sounding sizzler, again highlighting Toyah's dramatic turn on vocals (which come through strongly, thanks to her career in films and theatre over the decades), she has been cited by Evenesence's Amy as one of her influences, and you can really hear that on this track.

HYPERVENTILATE: Acoustic guitar chords ring out, another inspirational life lesson from this divine diva; she'd be well received by hippies based on the harmonic meanderings on this particular tune.

COME: And here's the stadium rocker, the one that would bring the crowd to their feet at the Warped Tour; this would sound right at home as one of the token rockers for current Top 40 radio.

LEGACY: An aptly titled conclusive track, thoughtful and insightful, and a fitting finish to the CD of the year. Now go find your copy on itunes, and enjoy.

Good Times Magazine
December 2008