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Toy Boats – Diamond Teeth EP review

Hugo Costin-Neilson, of Toy Boats, points to The Cure as a band whom he would love to get in bed with musically. In an interview following the release of EP Diamond Teeth last April, Costin-Neilson says “I’ve covered ‘Love Song’ in the past and every time I listen to them I find a new song that I want to cover.” When asked if he could fill in with any band on tour, he responds again, “The Cure. I’ve always wanted to cover their songs, so why not play the original?”

While the influence of The Cure is not lost in Diamond Teeth, the EP manages to position itself as a very stout piece of effort. Rent’s dream-pop guitar riffs and playfully melancholy vocals are laced with hope and an air of rainy afternoon longing. These nostalgic wanderings are entwined with a hazy veil of the gloom rock of the late 80’s/early 90’s mixed with chord progressions reminiscent of Carissa’s Weird and Catherine Wheel (remember them?). Yet, while summoning the past, Diamond Teeth shoots beyond into new territory. Encountering this EP is much like meeting someone you feel you were born with. Exciting, comforting, and a little unsettling. (Are you sure you haven’t heard this before?) This particular EP is a collaboration with Hugo, himself, and the past.

Diamond Teeth touches the senses much like a walk along a city river at night, or perhaps New Year’s morning. Perhaps you’re hungover, perhaps you don’t know where your car is parked (or even if you have a car): there’s solitude, and yet in that solitude exists a feeling of comfort and solidarity with the unsettling of the world. Like a fever dream you never want to wake from. It beckons you to kick off your shoes and waltz with yourself in the kitchen. The vocals embody a maturity and age far beyond the youth Hugo encapsulates in his physical attributes, embracing and exploiting the wistful landscape of time. Diamond Teeth hasn’t left my stereo since I bought it, and it won’t for a long while.