You’ll know Toby Hayes from Meet Me in St Louis, Shoes and Socks Off and Eugene Quell and it’s always exciting to hear one of his new projects. Laundromat began when Toby was living in China but has also been on his radar while living in Berlin, London and Brighton – the city he has now settled in and currently calls home. While the public space aesthetics (juke boxes, phone boxes, buses etc) of the coastal city have resonated with him, the lyrics on this ;lo-fi EP explore everything from political lies and panic attacks to binge drinking, being catfished (for almost seven years) and the end of the world.
There’s an almost alien sound to the opening of ‘Humans’ – a song that sits somewhere between a home-made disco and blistering garage rock. Its fractured guitar solo and restless lyrics (’round and round we go’, ‘gone away, gone away’) also bring to mind bands as diverse as Deerhunter and Guided by Voices. The art pop of ‘Slow Clap’ follows with whirring sounds and defiant lyrics: ‘Someone’s made a big misake, there’s a lesson in it somewhere, there’s a lesson in here’ while the closing ‘Off’ has an intensity as Toby talks about people freaking out and selling each other for profit: ‘What a long way to go from the comfort of your home’; ‘Feeling like a sucker, looking like an avalanche’.
With influences ranging from Broadcast to Kim Deal and elements of Beck’s penchant for cross-genre melodies, this is a captivating and cathartic listen.