REDUX: Record Review: Toyah – Don’t Fall In Love

blast-from-the-past-header
October 23, 2012

Portrait Records | UK | 12″ | 1985 | TX 6160

Toyah: Don’t Fall In Love UK 12″ [1985]

  1. Don’t Fall In Love [ext.]
  2. Snow Covers The Kiss
  3. Kiss The Devil

Toyah managed to finagle her way to the UK top 10 in 1981 after a year or two of slogging away at her semi-prog, semi-NewWave hybrid sound as well as taking the odd acting job [“Quadrophenia,” “Jubilee”]. In ’81 she managed a hit single with “It’s A Mystery” and spent the rest of her remaining two years at UK indie Safari Records as a  semi-regular on the UK charts; never topping her initial chart placement with “Mystery.” But by 1983 her sound was even more out of step with the soul slop [Culture Club, Wham] taking over the UK charts at the time. Career seemingly in decline, it was surprising to see that she finally made the leap from indie to the majors when CBS/Portrait picked up the option for her next album, “Minx.”

This was the advance single for that album and it submitted for our ears an impossibly glossy Toyah new sound; all Fairlight Page R and Yamaha DX-7. The Christopher Neil [Sheena Easton, Mike + The Mechanics] production sounded extremely thin and plastic, as did most of the early digital synth productions of the era. The tune was a cynical look at love, co-written by Toyah with the trusty Simon Darlow [keys – Buggles MK II] and fortunately, the mix on this 12″ version addresses some of the lack of oomph that afflicts the 7″/LP mix of this track. The track has been lengthened slightly from 3:45 to 5:12; negligible in terms of what we used to look for in a 12″ version, but the mixing/EQ on this 12″ manages to take a trifling thing and give it a slight sense of purpose. In all frankness, it’s one of the two great songs on the album from which it came, with “America For Beginners” being the other track that will keep me from recycling this particular album.

“Snow Covers The Kiss” is a very elegant number that sounds far better than much of what made it onto the album. Too bad it’s followed by “Kiss The Devil;” a parody of a Toyah B-side if ever there were one. The nerf-metal content is an embarrassment to all concerned. But it does reflect the cod-prog mystikal leanings that made Toyah such a queer duck in the Post-Punk era. The conflict her style embodied is definitely what makes me  intrigued by her output, which can vary wildly in style and tone. None were more shocked that I was when it transpired that she married Robert Fripp the year after this single was issued, but in that he’s another chimera who straddles the New Wave/prog divide, in retrospect it seems like a natural fit.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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4 Responses to REDUX: Record Review: Toyah – Don’t Fall In Love

  1. Gavin says:

    I think this single and the album it came from,Minx,really divided Toyahs fans.
    I loved it at the time,the artwork and production was as you say glossy and “grown up” and as a 17 year old I was impressed.However,I feel it has really dated and apart from a couple of tracks I rarely listen to it.
    I always enjoyed Toyahs b-sides and these were no exception.There is an interesting alternative version of “Kiss the devil” on the soundtrack to the straight-to-video movie “Murder:The ultimate grounds for divorce” which also stars Roger Daltrey.
    As you say,just a year later Toyah married Fripp and produced in my opinion the greatest works of her career to date,”Prostitute” and “Kneeling at the Shrine”(as Sunday all over the World)

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Gavin – Not forgetting “Desire,” I hope! Possibly my favorite Toyah album at the end of the day. “Moonlight Dancing” is my favorite of her singles. “Prostitute” is a whole experience that is miles ahead of her pop work, though. A real journey.

      Like

  2. Gavin says:

    I do like Desire,but having been forced to do cover versions by the record company,the whole experience left a bitter taste in Toyahs mouth and many fans too.Two of my absolute fave Toyah tracks are ‘Sun up’ and ‘Re-entry into Dance’,the 12″ b-sides from ‘Moonlight Dancing’-such a great record!Fripps guitar is exquisite on that track.Ronnie Wood plays on the album too.

    Like

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