Album Review

87 and the Toys – ‘The Smile Room’ [EP] [Album Review]

Brimming with heady indie-rock momentum and bright, wild energy, 87 and the Toys’s ‘The Smile Room’ delivers unbridled sonic swagger.



Indie rock trio 87 and the Toys officially release their new EP, The Smile Room. Imagine The B-52s crossed with Pixies and Talking Heads, and you’ll have an inkling of 87 and the Toys’ sound.

The phrase ‘officially releases’ refers to the band readying the EP to drop last year. Once they realized how long vinyl was going to take, they decided to hold off. Yet it hit streaming services before they could figure out how to pull it.

Made up of Hana Irie (vocals, drums), who is of full Japanese heritage, Patrick (vocals, guitar), who is half-Japanese, and Dave Skidmore (bass), 87 and the Toys formed in NorCal. The band’s name has its provenance in Hana’s name. In Japan, certain numbers relate to certain syllables, with HA NA being 87, which was lengthened to 87 and the Toys.

Encompassing six tracks, The Smile Room begins with “All You Can Eat Sushi,” an upbeat tune with skiffing, platinum-coloured guitars topped by charmingly entertaining vocals.

Entry points include the spacy flavours of “Flying Saucers,” with its gleaming, jangly guitars, driving rhythm, and lively vocals. At once ringing and pushing, the harmonics merge indie-rock with pop punch, creating a glittering wall of sound.

Streaked with hints of punk zest, “Tremont Street” conjures up suggestions of The B-52s laced with edgy textures. For some reason, the guitars on this track evoke memories of Thin Lizzy, lustrously thick and shaded with faint tints of country rock, dripping with reckless dynamism.

87 and the Toys

A personal favourite, and perhaps the best track on the EP, “Aitai” slows things down, rolling out on glossy guitars atop a deliciously meandering rhythm. Sung in Japanese, Hana’s velvety voice imbues the lyrics with exquisitely nuanced and evocative timbres.

Brimming with heady indie-rock momentum and bright, wild energy, The Smile Room delivers unbridled sonic swagger.

The Smile Room Track Listing:

1. All You Can East Sushi
2. Shopping Mall
3. Flying Saucers
4. You
5. Tremont Street
6. Aitai

Run Time: 14:38
Release Date: March 31, 2023
Record Label: Independent


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