If you gathered the sounds of the most influential guitar based bands of the last 40 years, spliced them in a pop blender and distilled the ensuing mush into the here and now, you’d have The Heights.
Has the shameless plundering been worth it? The answer arrives with Toys and Kings, and it wears its influences like badges of honour. The Beatles, The Jam, The Clash, Foo Fighters and even At The Drive In are all discernable, but none of it adds up to anything that resonates.
Toys and Kings starts respectably enough with the I’m-sure-I’ve-heard-this-before ear pleaser Night Relay, a relentless, bass driven song with twanging guitar lines just sharp enough to keep the listener attentive.
From here on in however, it’s a regular snooze-fest as the second track, the admittedly brilliantly named Jamaica Beer Eyes, sets the tone for the rest of the album by recreating sounds that pretty much any listener with even a passing interest in current music would identify as rehashed and verging on dull.
There’s a brief resurfacing during current single For Real with its raucous, feel-good chorus that suggests the band at least have the potential to produce something worthwhile, given time. But it’s one of the few exceptions – for the most part it’s filler.
In the final event, Toys and Kings is not a terrible album. It’s just average. And that’s worse.