(Counter Intuitive Records / Sniffling Indie Kids)
One doesn’t always have to say something new to spark a change. Introducing Toy Cars, another one of New Jersey’s blissfully unique yet stylistically and beautifully familiar rock outfit. Bearing a fire in their heart, Toy Cars came together as a full band to write a glimmering release, entitled it Sleeping Patterns and can now wipe the dust off of their shoulders. A bit of The Gaslight Anthem, a sprinkle of emo and a youthful vigor keep this release from burying itself along the boardwalk, walking proud along the shore with the entire ocean in front of them to streamline with the currents.
One of the redeeming qualities of Sleeping Patterns is the pacing. To keep people’s attention, often time bands will find ways to charge through their songs, capturing the A.D.H.D. in people to pay attention for just this quick movement. But Toy Cars don’t need to speed anything up. Sure, their songs are short, but in that there are clever rhythm changes that don’t have to be over the top. Opener “Bjorks” has such a simple turnaround in the chorus that is makes the song’s upbeat nature take hold of your body. The volleying tambourine and snare drum are catchy by themselves, then add Matt DeBenedetti’s on edge sing/screams and it’s a whirlpool of whimsical beauty. Compare the two choruses and the vocal changes — shit, it’s everything you want in a song. It — whether aware or unaware — becomes the very allure found in the lyrics, “you are the fever that won’t break, the chill that I can’t shake.”
But that is just the first song. In five songs, Toy Cars manage to shoot through the sky like fireworks just to dazzle listeners with their introspective songs that bleed part americana part emotional roller coaster punk. Closing number “Albatross” starts off as a writhing, ballad of a song but detonates into an anthemic gut puncher shining on the vocal cadences. It’s just damned fun songwriting. But again, it’s not like Toy Cars are pitching the next biggest brand spanking new message, they’re just fucking honest about what they have to say. Not to mention the band has a way of twisting their tunes around incredible dynamic changes, like the entirety of builds made up in “Books.” Songs about insecurity, the natural strife of life and finding a purpose have already littered the coast of the music industry, but Toy Cars own it; capturing the feelings in a satisfying blend of bursting euphoria. At times Sleeping Patterns is that familiar it feels like a conversation with your closest friend, which DeBenedetti seizes on the intimate, acoustic track “Dull.”
And that’s that. Sleeping Patterns rings out loud enough to be heard, and it solidifies its place in gathering attention. It’s an EP that lets its guard down to show the listener everything that is Toy Cars. It’s a release that climbs a mountain, stands at the top and says “hey, I climbed the mountain.” But we don’t care that they made the ascent, we care that they have something to say about it.