Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Velvet Thunder: The Changeling Deluxe – Review

December 19th, 2023

A great review, by Velvet Thunder, of The Changeling reissue


Far from being the musical Yin to Fripp’s Yang in those 1980s days, comparison of their respective works reveals as many creative similarities as there are differences.

The excellent Cherry Red reissue campaign of Toyah’s classic early 1980s catalogue continues here with 1982’s The Changeling, the fourth Toyah studio album in just over three incredibly prolific years. Nowadays it is common for people, particularly those from a prog rock background, to simply regard Toyah as her contemporary incarnation as ‘Mrs Robert Fripp’, and the person responsible for dragging the famously irascible and studiously earnest King Crimson keystone out of his shell and into an ongoing series of light-hearted and often hugely entertaining YouTube video clips of them performing together in a variety of guises. All of which is fine as far as it goes, but there was far more to her wonderfully creative musical side than that – and this reissue series really ought to bring that to the fore in the public consciousness. Far from being the musical Yin to Fripp’s Yang in those 1980s days, comparison of their respective works reveals as many creative similarities as there are differences.

Following an intensely creative 1981, it would have been a very tempting – and indeed understandable – development for The Changeling to follow a relatively commercial and public-pleasing course. Just a year previously, the album Anthem – and particularly its two hugely successful singles It’s A Mystery and I Want To Be Free – had sent her into the world of mainstream TV and media in an easily marketable guise as a sort of ready-made ‘pop-punk with glam’ persona, with subsequent hits such as Thunder In The Mountains continuing that impression. As that whirlwind year came to an end, however, Toyah and her band (led by her chief songwriting partner and musical soulmate Joel Bogen) had other ideas. Indeed, not only did Toyah want to go back to the darker, more challenging template of previous works such as 1980’s The Blue Meaning, but she also planned to base the new album conceptually around how the events of 1981 had affected her on a personal level. The resulting album was certainly not the one which the record company executives wanted or expected her to produce, yet despite, or indeed because of that fact, it has remained one of her key creative statements.

• Continue reading at Velvet Thunder.

Reviews: Warped Factor – Children Of The Circus

December 15th, 2023

Another great review for Children Of The Circus.

Doctor Who
Children Of The Circus

“Children of the Circus,” an audio musical drama from AUK Studios, marks a triumphant reunion for the cast of the Seventh Doctor story, “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.” This limited edition CD set, released on December 14th, 2023 and available to purchase here, commemorates 35 years since the original episode aired on BBC One. Written by Kenton Hall with songs by Christopher Guard and based on an idea by Barnaby Eaton-Jones, the story resurrects the magic of Stephen Wyatt’s “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy,” while venturing into new, imaginative territories.

The story revolves around the Psychic Circus, once a refuge for universal misfits, which later succumbed to the control of malevolent Gods. Years after these Gods have departed, the scars of the survivors linger. However, the Children of the Circus, equipped with the power of song, are ready to confront their past.

Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred headline the cast, but not in their familiar roles. McCoy, as the High Poet, brings a mix of charm and underlying duplicity, while Aldred delivers two distinct performances as Captain Gren and AJ. Aldred’s dual roles as the captain of a Time Ship and sentient rust showcase her range and versatility. Joining them is 1980s icon Toyah Willcox, who plays The Band of Infinite Harmony, a multi-voiced role that she relishes, culminating in a solo song featured as a bonus track.

• Continue reading at Warped Factor. See more on Children Of The Circus, here.

Reviews: Sci Fi Bulletin – Children Of The Circus

December 13th, 2023

A great review for Children Of The Circus, from Sci Fi Bulletin.

Review: Doctor Who: AUK: Children Of The Circus

Years after the events of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, the survivors of the Circus are gathered. Bellboy has a plan. A plan that won’t just save them but stop them needing to be saved at all. All it takes is putting the band back together, a mostly functional time ship and the power of rock and roll.

But who’s Ella?

Kenton Hall, Barnaby Eaton-Jones and Christopher Guard, faced with the impossible task of following up on one of the Seventh Doctor’s oddest stories, have achieved the impossible: they’ve not only done it, but done it as an audio drama and rock opera. Linear time is the characters’ foe but the script’s friend.

The cast are uniformly excellent, but Guard’s exhausted, desperate Bellboy is a standout, a rock star pushing flat out past the redline, burning out and fading away in the hopes that sacrifice will erase itself and give him what all good performers pray for: a comeback. Ideas fly as thick and fast as great performances and there are multiple moments where you have to just sit back and applaud.

• Continue reading at Sci Fi Bulletin. See more on Children Of The Circus, here.

Reviews: Toyah & Robert’s Sunday Lunch Tour – Liverpool

October 18th, 2023

Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
16th October 2023

Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp bring their Bonkers Web show Sunday Lunch to the stage and Del Pike is there to watch the madness unfold.

What started as a fun diversion from the horrors of Covid – Toyah and Robert’s Sunday Lunch has bloomed into an ongoing project with an army of cult followers – who’d have thought it?

Their appearance at Glasto cemented the idea that their online videos were more than a passing fad, and this was a piss-take that had actual legs.

The premise; Robert Fripp, he of King Crimson fame, stares intently at a static camera, seated in his kitchen, strumming along to a classic pop/rock hit, whilst his wife, Toyah Willcox frantically sings along, manically striking shapes and dancing feverishly around the domestic studio. And all this happens at midday every Sunday.

The results are hilarious mainly, unnerving often, but always entertaining. Toyah’s outfits, which are always comically revealing, are as much a feature as the songs and performances, and often there may be a masked collaborator to add a bit of meat to the musical bones.

• Continue reading at Louder Than War. Browse a gallery of photos from this concert at Record Collector.

Reviews: Toyah & Robert’s Sunday Lunch Tour – Cheltenham

October 5th, 2023

A second review of Toyah & Robert’s Sunday Lunch Rock Party Tour – this one for the second concert at Cheltenham. Again, this review includes spoilers.

Gig Review: Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp
“Sunday Lunch” Cheltenham 1st October 2023

Accompanying me for this gig was a friend who started his musical journey at the same moment in time as myself – late 70s to early 80s – and aside from our ailments, all we talk about is music. However, little did I know the entire night was to be all about relationships…

The grandiose setting would have seemed incongruous a few decades ago for the Punk-pixie Toyah Willcox. The galleried space and Corinthian columns are very much of the classic style. However, I guess the contemporary Toyah too is very much the classic heritage act.

Together with her husband Robert Fripp, the duo have been framing their love of music with regular “Sunday Lunch” uploads on YouTube. The covering of classic songs has amassed a huge following and even bigger reactions. The premise is one of fun and self-parody. Tonight was no different…

As the statesmen of the stage, Fripp took to his stool, after offering an unconditional kiss for his iconic guitar. Although, for the remainder of the gig the guitarist’s unflinching gaze was reserved, hereon in, for his wife of 37 years. Unapologetically, their relationship was at the crux of the show.

• Continue reading at Slap Mag. Toyah & Robert’s Sunday Lunch Tour is on the road now – Browse venues at

Reviews: Toyah & Robert’s Sunday Lunch Tour

October 4th, 2023

A comprehensive review of the opening – sold out – date of Toyah & Robert’s Sunday Lunch Tour. Please note, this review includes spoilers, such as the full set-list etc.

Wimborne, Tivoli Theatre
Saturday 30 September 2023

This is where it started, during lockdown. It’s had 120 million views. Robert Fripp and Toyah Willcox broadcasting totally unexpected duo renditions from home. It went viral. People looked forward to it.

The Tivoli sold out in hours rather than days. Wimborne, Dorset is Robert Fripp’s home town. As explained tonight he first went to the Tivoli when it was a cinema with his sister (who was running the lobby sales stand tonight) when he was five. He proposed to Toyah thirty-seven years ago just along the road. He is the local hero. They could easily have sold out Bournemouth Pavilion judging by the way tickets flew off the shelf. I expect they could have sold out the cavernous BIC, but no, it’s a home town gig in the Tivoli. While it’s a small venue, I have seen such as Robert Plant, Judy Collins, Albert Lee and The Manfreds there.

For many of us in this audience Robert Fripp goes back to The League of Gentlemen and Giles, Giles and Fripp as well as King Crimson. As I increasingly realised working on the record labels on my Around & Around site, we were privileged to live in 60s Bournemouth. (The ‘Greater’ Bournemouth area includes Poole, Christchurch and Wimborne). Robert Fripp, John Wetton, Greg Lake, Michael Giles, Richard Palmer-James, Gordon Haskell (just to name King Crimson connections first), Lee Kerslake (The Gods, Uriah Heep), Zoot Money, Andy Somers (Police), Tim Mycroft (Sounds Nice), Al Stewart, John Rostill (The Shadows), Bob Jenkins (Room, Be Sharp), Pete Ballam (Bram Stoker), Dave Anthony’s Moods, Trendsetters Ltd, The Dowlands. Check out the Bournemouth Beat Boom website for the most detailed information on all of these. As a booming tourist town, Bournemouth simply had far more venues than most places so spawned bands who could actually find plenty of gigs.

• Continue reading at Peter Viney’s Blog. Toyah & Robert’s Sunday Lunch Tour is on the road now – Browse venues at (Photo © Peter Viney)

At The Barrier: Cropredy 2023 – Live Review

August 29th, 2023

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention 2023: Live Review

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention adds another year to its long list of great bills and festivals. It really is a festival to cherish.

Toyah and Robert Fripp
It was back in 2015 that Toyah Wilcox last had the Cropredy stage to herself. She wowed us then, and -by heck – she certainly delivered the goods this year! Armed with a top-notch band, led, of course by husband Robert Fripp, figurehead of the mighty King Crimson, she left us breathless – and glamour-struck as she blasted through set of favourites from the couple’s hilarious – some might even say ‘notorious’ Sunday Lunch podcast series. The band was on top form, and Toyah had the whole field captivated as she rocked, twirled, enchanted and, of course, sang her way through a set that was thoroughly familiar and contained something for absolutely everyone.

• Continue reading at At The Barrier.

Velvet Thunder: Live at The Rainbow/Drury Lane Reviews

July 24th, 2023


These two releases now available form a perfect set of stepping stones leading from the club-venue rawness of Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! to the theatrical, large scale Changeling shows which birthed Warrior Rock. They have been a long, long time coming, and they are most welcome to say the least.

Continuing the excellent Toyah reissue series comes the bonus of two albums, both originally recorded in 1981, to follow up the slightly earlier Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!, recorded the previous year. Interestingly, however, these two albums – which nicely bridge the gap between the raw Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! album and the later more populist Warrior Rock double – are less reissues than they are entirely new releases. Live At The Rainbow, of course, from a February 1981 show, was a popular video release back in the day, but oddly enough has never seen the light of day in audio form until now. Live At Drury Lane, on the other hand, is a show from the latter end of that same year, originally broadcast by the BBC on the annual Old Grey Whistle Test Christmas In Concert programme, and has only ever been available, for a relatively short time in incomplete form, on a BBC videotape called Good Morning Universe. The differences between the two releases really highlight how much was going on within a few months of this highly successful year, and is a large part of what makes these releases a fascinating back-to-back listen for fans.

• Continue reading at Velvet Thunder. Live At The Rainbow and Live At Drury Lane are available in both CD+DVD and colour 12″ vinyl from Cherry Red Records.

Reviews: Sheep Farming In Barnet – Black Vinyl

June 29th, 2023

A comprehensive review of Sheep Farming In Barnet, by Spectrum Culture. The album was released on 140g black vinyl on 16th June.

Toyah: Sheep Farming in Barnet

Toyah Willcox is much beloved in the UK as a broadcaster/national treasure, a standing which has only been reinforced by her YouTube videos with husband Robert Fripp. Back in the early ‘80s, she and her self-titled band were genuine pop stars too, scoring three Top 10 singles, plus another 10 or so that charted. And yet, though she’s been famous for the past 40 years and has never gone away, her music isn’t much considered compared to many of her post-punk/new wave/new romantic peers. By the time the Toyah’s debut, Sheep Farming in Barnet – initially an EP, and then extended into an album for its European release – came out in 1979, Willcox was already a familiar face and well-known personality on the punk scene and had appeared in a high-profile acting role in Derek Jarman’s 1978 film Jubilee, so there was an element of skepticism in the critical response to the album. But like Jubilee itself, Sheep Farming… is definitively an artifact of its time, and as interesting as it is typical.

The sound of Toyah in 1979 was definitely new wave, but it was a colorful, flamboyant and theatrical new wave, rather than the chilly, bleak and wiry post-punk of peers like the Cure or Wire. At times – also typical of the period – there’s a noticeable Roxy Music and Bowie influence and the band (Toyah, plus guitarist Joel Bogen, Peter Bush and Keith Hale on synths, bass player Mark Henry and drummer Steve Bray – were accomplished enough musicians to stray far outside of the standard three-chord punk template for the majority of the album’s tracks.

• Continue reading at Spectrum Culture. Browse Dreamscape’s Sheep farming In Barnet news archive.

Live At Drury Lane: Review by Liverpool Sound & Vision

May 16th, 2023

Toyah: Live At Drury Lane. Album Review
Liverpool Sound and Vision 8.5/10

In one of the great mysteries of life, the fans of one of Birmingham’s finest musical ambassadors, the scintillating and unique Toyah Willcox, have always been left wondering why one of the most memorable performances of her early career was never given the aural treatment it deserved. Why it seemed to appear on every other format except the one it mattered on, the vinyl love it required to truly capture an icon at the height of her powers and majestic best.

Toyah: Live At Drury Lane has become an almost mythic like tale, one of a queen riding into battle to take on the scourge of beige mediocrity, the uniform of men in suits and the screaming banshees of dull complexity. That tale of mythic, even legendary proportions has been mostly lost, the format used at the time that framed the evening as lost as the mists that have enveloped our lives as our bodies have been eroded by tide and the fears of those who wish us to be servient to the commonplace.

• Continue reading Liverpool Sound and Vision.

Live At The Rainbow: Mini-Review By Goldmine

January 8th, 2023

Live at the Rainbow
(Cherry Red CD/DVD)

Originally released as a VHS video in 1981, capturing Toyah at the very peak of her early ’80s triumphs, fans have been calling out for a digital equivalent for years now… and finally it’s here.

Spread across two discs, with the full VHS performance on DVD, and the entire concert (four songs longer, plus three further bonus tracks) on CD, Live at the Rainbow is both a captivating performance and a curious time capsule – a reminder of a time, to begin with, when Toyah was considered a weird looking lady, and a weird sounding one as well. These days, you see more dramatic costumes working in banks, and hear stranger voices reading the news.

Shove such thoughts aside, however, and the DVD, in particular, illustrates just what a dynamic performer Toyah was, with a repertoire that danced closer to the edge than many far more feted left fielders, and a stage presence that pushed her leagues ahead, again, of the competition. Indeed, enjoyable though the audio disc is, it’s the DVD to which you will continually return, simply to bask in the sheer delight of the show.

• Continue reading at Goldmine. Browse our recent posts for Live At The Rainbow.

Classic Pop: Crimson Queen/Four From Toyah

January 6th, 2023

There are two helpings of Toyah in the latest issue (#79, January/February 2023) of Classic Pop magazine: A review of the forthcoming ‘Rhythm Deluxe Edition’ of studio album In The Court of The Crimson Queen, and Four From Toyah, in a Top 20 EPs feature, with the 1981 release included at #15.

• Click below to view larger versions of both articles. The latest issue of Classic Pop magazine is available to buy in store and online. (Thanks to Minna of The Toyah Willcox Interview Archive for both scans)

Four More From Toyah: Review/Feature by At The Barrier

December 10th, 2022

Toyah – Four More From Toyah – Expanded 12″ Neon Violet Vinyl Version: Album Review

The story continues – The latest triumphant installment in Cherry Red’s reissue series of Toyah’s Safari Records catalogue.

Release Date: 9th December 2022
Label: Cherry Red Records
Formats: Vinyl

And so the story continues. Back in early 2021, we were pleased to review the deluxe reissue of Toyah’s second album, The Blue Meaning and then, last May, we raved over the combined CD/DVD repackaging of her seminal 1980 live album, Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! Cherry Red has certainly been busy and, since we last paid a visit to Toyah-land a super-deluxe edition of her 1981 album, Anthem, has hit the racks, along with a CD version of her breakthrough February 1981 concert at London’s Rainbow Theatre – a recording that was previously only available in video formats. And now, Toyah’s back again, this time with a delightful, expanded, 12” neon violet vinyl version of her third EP, Four More From Toyah.

Originally released in November 1981, the EP continued Toyah’s run of chart success, thanks this time to the popularity of lead track, Good Morning Universe. The original EP climbed to No.14 in the UK singles chart; for 2022 viewers, it’s been expanded into a mini-album, with the addition of four further tracks, two of which receive a commercial release for the first time.

The original EP comprised the first material to be studio-recorded since drummer Nigel Glocker’s departure to join NWOBHM-ers, Saxon, and the line-up on display for the eight tracks in this package is: Toyah Willcox (vocals), Joel Bogen (guitar), Adrian Lee (keyboards), Phil Spalding (bass) and new drummer, Simon Phillips. And the band sound rock-solid! I was particularly impressed by the concrete foundation, often edging towards the funky side of things, that Phil and Simon laid down; and Toyah sings with a maturity that is only hinted at on her earlier recordings, without losing any of the sinister edge that could often make her vocal delivery such a chilling experience.

• Continue reading at At The Barrier. Buy Four More From Toyah at Cherry Red.

Reviews/Press Clips: The Roadside Tour 2022

October 25th, 2022

Four reviews for Billy Idol’s The Roadside Tour, one for London Wembley Arena, two for Glasgow Hydro and one for Leeds Arena:

Metal Talk: The night opened with icon and punk pop princess Toyah, revelling in the career boost she’s seen as a result of her wonderfully unhinged Sunday Lunch videos with husband, Robert Fripp. Always an effervescent performer, she seemed to really embrace being back to playing arenas again, and her joy came like waves from the stage as she danced around it – Continue…

Metal Planet Music: Support bands have changed numerous times before we even got to this point but opener Toyah did not let us down. Toyah, aaaaaah Toyah. Her and Miss Debbie Harry had a lot to answer for in the hormones levels of myself as a 13 year old back in 1980 – Continue…

Moshville: Toyah had posted on Twitter that her set was to start a whopping 5 minutes early, but even with this warning the venue was still filling up as she started and played through her thirty minutes. This was an absolute shame as she was bloody brilliant. Riding the crest of a wave of public attention after her lockdown cover video sessions with husband Robert Fripp, her set was mainly made up of her own material with one cover (“Echo Beach” by Martha & The Muffins) – Continue…

• York Press: The show, the final one of the UK tour, was opened by Toyah, followed by Killing Joke, and headlined by Billy Idol offered something for everyone. Toyah got the proceedings off in fine style despite the early 7pm start. She gave us her hits – Thunder On The Mountains, I Want To Be Free and It’s A Mystery and a cover of Echo Beach. As anyone who has seen her Sunday Lunch videos which are filmed at home with her husband, King Crimson’s Robert Fripp, her engaging presence and sense of fun illuminated her set – Continue…

Backseat Mafia: Live Review – Billy Idol/Killing Joke/Toyah

October 15th, 2022


Marking the first stop of the UK leg of The Roadside Tour 2022, tonight sees Billy Idol take to the stage in Manchester ably supported by Toyah and Killing Joke. This run of arena dates is the first time Billy Idol will have performed in the UK since 2018, with tickets for the remaining shows available here.

Opening the evenings proceedings was the four times Brit award nominated Toyah whose career has spanned more than 4 decades with ventures not only in music performance, but also in acting, songwriting and producing amongst many other accolades. It’s a short 30 minute set for Toyah but she delivers an upbeat pop performance, dancing throughout the set. Killing Joke were a relatively late addition to the tour, stepping in when previous support Television withdrew due to illness. With their industrial post-punk rock, the band almost do a complete 180 from the bubbly Toyah, creating a much heavier darker sound accompanied by moody lighting and whilst some fans may have whiplash from the change in sound, nevertheless they were well received.

• Continue reading at Backseat Mafia. NB. A selection of great live shots of Toyah at Manchester Arena are included in this article.

Live At The Rainbow: Review by Mr Kinski’s Music Shack

October 13th, 2022

Cherry Red are releasing Toyah’s February 1981 concert recorded at London’s Rainbow Theatre as a CD/DVD and a coloured double vinyl LP on 25 November 2022.

Toyah – Live At The Rainbow is released for the first time on CD with seven additional songs, all previously unreleased and restored exclusively for this release.

Previously only available on VHS, the 53-min concert film has been remastered from the original Rolling Stones multitrack reels for the DVD release with improvements to both picture and sound.

The newly remixed and remastered audio has been integrated to the concert for an enhanced viewing experience. All audio remastering was approved by Joel Bogen.

Three of the seven unheard songs appear exclusively on the CD as mono-only (originally mixed by Nick Tauber) bonus tracks, where no existing multi-tracks were available to present new stereo remixes. These three tracks do not appear on the 16-song double vinyl LP edition. Toyah provides a brand-new introduction in the 24-page booklet which contains iconic live photography by Barry Plummer and new notes by Craig Astley, Toyah’s official archivist.

• Continue reading at Mr Kinski’s Music Shack. Pre-order Toyah Live At The Rainbow, and other recent Toyah reissues, at Cherry Red.

Anthem Tour 2022: Brighton Concorde 2 Review by Scene Sussex

October 13th, 2022

Toyah live Brighton, Support Currls
7 October 2022, Concorde 2.

Toyah brings Anthem to Brighton. Gig Report!

Toyah: Toyah Is a four times Brit Award nominated English musician, singer, songwriter, actress, producer and author. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Willcox has had 8 Top 40 singles, released over 20 albums, written two books, appeared in over 40 stage plays and 10 feature films, and voiced and presented numerous television shows.

As a singer, actress and TV presenter, Toyah is in a world beating class of her own, she is, in the words of ABBA, a super trouper. If you dont belive me, sit down with a coffee and have a run through her history on her Wikipedia page! Extraordinary.

Toyah: The Band: The last time I was lucky to photograph Toyah was when she visited Worthing to warm up her album ‘Posh Pop’. This LP put Toyah back in the Top 30 for the first time since 1984. The time before that was Brighton in November 2019 when she played chalk to promote her 2019 charting album ‘In The Court Of The Crimson Queen‘. A new line up of new faces apart from Mike Nichols (bass). Two guitars, drums, bass and keys and Toyah, gave us a full on auditory explosion of sound. This is a classy five-piece band, working with Toyah they helped make the evening snappy and definitely uplifting.

• Continue reading at Scene Sussex.

Anthem Tour 2022: Brighton Concorde 2 Review by Brighton News

October 12th, 2022


Toyah Entertains Brighton Crowd

It was a quick dash on Friday for me across the city from Resident Records (seeing Sorry’s instore album launch) to Concorde 2 and across four decades to see Toyah performing tracks from her album ‘Anthem’, courtesy of local promoters Black Rabbit Productions.

‘Anthem’ released in May 1981 was Toyah’s biggest selling album going gold shifting more than 100,000 copies in the UK and peaked in the charts at number 2. The iconic album cover showing Toyah as a fairy with wings was used as the backdrop to the stage set.

There was a good-sized crowd gathered for Toyah and her band to come on stage at 8.30pm. As is common with a lot of bands with such a key front person, the musicians came on stage first and the star of the show Toyah, then made her entrance.

For reference, Toyah’s trademark flaming red/orange hair of the album cover picture has been toned down to blond these days. But that was the only thing that she’s appeared to have toned down. There was a lively start to the 19-song set with two of her biggest hits ‘Thunder In The Mountains’ and ‘Good Morning Universe’. This set the tempo for the rest of the evening.

• Continue reading at Brighton and Hove News.

Anthem Tour 2022: Bristol Fleece Review by Joyzine

October 7th, 2022


Here’s a review I’ve long dreamed of writing; namely my favourite live artist, in my favourite live music venue, in my favourite city. If that isn’t enough to make it an interesting night out, my wife is also joining me – her first live gig for forty years. Here, it has to be categorically stated that my wife has no musical passions for Toyah but, as I discovered the Birmingham singer/actress back in 1980 and my wife as recently as 1988, she’s always been (mostly) very patient and contented herself with eye-rolling while I relive my teenage years of enthusiastic pogo dancing. An added element here is that both my wife and I are disabled – this being a key issue for her not attending gigs for so long – so it would naturally be interesting to see how the venue catered for us less-mobile types. Here, knowing The Fleece well was a distinct advantage. To me, it’s the perfect music location, consisting of a single, long room with not a trace of evil staircases. However, we contacted The Fleece well in advance to ask about specific details concerning disabled patrons. The venue did not disappoint us, being courteous and helpful through every stage of the booking process. So, before we get to Toyah, a shout out to Holly Angus and the team in Bristol for their support.

• Continue reading at Joyzine.

Anthem Deluxe/Remastered: Review by Velvet Thunder

October 4th, 2022

Toyah – Anthem
Deluxe Reissue (
Cherry Red)

This is, of all the Toyah reissues this far, also recommended to the casual fan. It contains just as much challenging ‘meat’ as the previous albums, but with the familiar hooks which will help less seasoned travellers navigate the truly fascinating outposts. Unreservedly recommended.

With this 2CD/DVD set, the deluxe Toyah reissue campaign from Cherry Red reaches 1981 – with an amazing four releases having spanned the previous two years from 1979. Anthem, the third studio album, was both the mainstream breakthrough and simultaneously an album which almost didn’t get made. Following the previous year’s live album Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!, the band (which we must remind ourselves, was itself named ‘Toyah’, in much the same way as ‘Alice Cooper’ was originally the band name as well as the frontman) fell apart, leaving just Toyah herself and creative lynchpin guitarist Joel Bogen. A short-lived band was assembled but quickly fell apart again after not really working out, and it seemed as if Toyah, the band, might be done. Toyah herself almost became the full-time vocalist with the band Blood Donor, who had the original version of It’s A Mystery in their repertoire, but after a few demo recordings that didn’t come to fruition. Nick Tauber, recruited as producer again after his work on the live album, pulled together a new crew along with Bogen, comprising bassist Phil Spalding, keyboardist Adrian Lee and future Saxon drummer Nigel Glockler. The new line-up recorded and released the four-track EP Four From Toyah early in 1981, with It’s A Mystery as its lead track, and the record’s unexpected massive success ensured they would not look back from that point on.

• Continue reading at Velvet Thunder. See more reviews of Anthem and other releases here.

Anthem Deluxe/Remastered: Review by Goldmine

September 22nd, 2022

Toyah’s ‘Anthem’ gets the super deluxe treatment, and never sounded so good!

It’s a mystery why Toyah was never eternally enormous. But the thunder in the mountains has never sounded so good.

Toyah / Anthem
Cherry Red (3-CD, 1 DVD, 2-LPs, 1-45rpm Box Set)

This is it – the big one, both in commercial terms and, compared to previous releases in Toyah’s reissue series, packaging, too.

Anthem was Ms Willcox’s fourth album, but it was home, too, to her greatest single hits yet – and if you only need one super deluxe early ’80s album, this might well be it.

Disc one here is the original album; disc three is a DVD stuffed with promos and TV appearances; discs two and four add in the outtakes, demos, remixes, backing tracks and live cuts. Including the nine bonus tracks appended to the album itself, and four more on tucked away elsewhere, there’s some 40 largely unreleased performances to get your teeth into. Plus the album on picture disc, a 12-inch mini album and a four track 7-inch EP. Which can, if you wish, be slimmed down to a simple 2CD + DVD package, or reduced even further to a gold colored LP of Anthem alone. In every guise, Anthem shines brightly.

The most confident sounding of Toyah’s early albums, if not the most unexpected (that remains her debut), Anthem was the sound of Toyah finally finding her direction. The songs are generally stronger than before, the band is definitely tighter, and her voice feels more controlled, without losing an iota of its original idiosyncrasy.

• Continue reading at Goldmine. Browse more reviews; of Anthem, Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!, Posh Pop, The Blue Meaning, Sheep Farming In Barnet, Posh Pop Tour, Give Them Wings, and much more, in Dreamscape’s Reviews News Archive.