Note – this review originally appeared on I Heart Noise blog in 2010
Upon hearing first notes of WS&TAOBT music, I instantly knew that they were something else. TAOBT are about as colorful as their name suggests – a “15 player circus of doom”, as Boston Phoenix described them (while the band call themselves anything from “death folk” and “texture core” to “steamship crunk”).
“Steamship Killers”, AOBT’s newest full-length, offers a trip into a bizarre but very captivating universe. There’s a healthy Tom Waits / Nick Cave influence demonstrated on “Killers”, but in a way this record is its own creature. The album is chock-full of bizarre characters, laments, stories of broken hearts and revenge and overall carnival-esque atmosphere and it packs quite a lot into relatively short 40 minutes of its duration.
Plus, the album’s artwork/design is equally awesome – my only regret is that the band didn’t include a lyric sheet, which would’ve helped to figure out what this is all about. This, however, could’ve been an intentional move designed to let the listener decide for himself on what to make of all this.
In any case, the verdict is that The Army of Broken Toys sound nothing like anybody else and is if that wasn’t enough, they also happened to have killer songs and live shows. Anyone with a penchant for odd and eccentric is highly recommended to grab a copy of “Steamship Killers” right now.