Band: Mabel Greer’s Toyshop
CD Title: The Secret
Label: Independent Release (2017)
Rating: Not bad, just not exciting?
You might think Mabel Greer’s Toyshop is not an obvious choice for a review on this website and yet, here it is, for as the promo material says, without this band there would be no YES. That might be a bit of stretch but there’s no question as I researched the London underground music scene this band has quite a storied part to play. So it is for that reason alone I was quite excited to take a listen to the band all these decades on. At the end of the day, it was a bit of a disappointment. I had high expectations, perhaps unrealistic expectations of a band that was at the forefront of the psychedelic scene producing something amazing but the nine compositions on The Secret are quite mainstream, even a bit tame. The tunes themselves are not overly complex, which isn’t meant to be a swipe at them. I realize the danger of reviewing “what’s not there” rather than the actual music on display so let me just say that there is nothing wrong with the fifty-seven minutes of here. The songs are mellow, melodic, hummable in some cases, and just for good measure even present a good number of musical change-ups along the way. There’s even a few times along the way where you catch a glimpse of the whacky psych sixties musical approach such as “More and More” [7:06] and “Swan” [5:31]. None-the-less as I listened I struggled to identify a Mabel Greer’s Toyshop signature sound. I didn’t find it. We’re so far removed from those early days that the music of today, well-crafted as it is sounds like it could be anyone. I know that sounds harsh and it even pains me to say it. Perhaps I simply had unrealistic expectations for this disc having elevated the band in my mind to such a lofty place. The fact is these boys are no longer in their teens, they’re in their sixties and the music they write is obviously going to come from a different place. Maybe I just need to spend more time with the disc so that’s what I’m going to do. I’m quite sure fans will be pleased at hearing a third disc from the boys. The fact this is true is in itself quite an accomplishment. Good job.