New group, debut release and second for GVR Records. Well, one aspect I zoomed in on straight away was the tight, melting harmonies spread across all the tracks, persuading and supporting the lead vocalists. They engage effortlessly, sometimes restrained, but always complimentary. Most of the songs here house a strong melody or hookline, against a hard or regular funk beat. “Get A Life Boy” is a prime example and, I have to say, likewise the first defining single “Got To Get A Message To You”, with a distinctive funky groove, and loads of brass supporting the exchange of lead singers. BrokenToiz (broken toys) is a creation of talent, so named because – and I quote – “they all were broken in other musical encounters and each was tossed aside like worn out toys.” Anyway, they are now on a mission, and offer an approach to music that will unashamedly hoist you back to the halcyon days of the likes of EWF and Sly and the Family Stone (how I loved that group). Actually, strains of the latter are quite prevalent as I listen through the CD – and that’s certainly not a bad thing. The self-contained six piece unit bring together a wealth of experience from differing ethnic backgrounds: USA, Italy and Hungary, resulting in a veritable melting pot of cultural ideas. “Treat Me Right” is low keyed, atmospheric with an enthusiastic hookline, while “Betcha My Love Will Getcha” has a kick start spoken word introduction as it creeps into the melody with a nightclub feel about it. Quite often, harsher vocals hit the harder edge funk with “Somebody Said” fitting that bill, although the track is disjointed, missing the mark. Once again the spoken word teases us into “Heavenly Love”, bringing on a languorous feeling with those sizzling unison of voices.
With a familiar riff, “You’re My Everything” pulsates with switching lead vocals against the sweet, smooth harmonies. Attractive note change here too. But, hats off to “Better”, a dance/funk highlight; to the point with a striking melody, balanced evenly with the profusion of voices and music. Instantly likeable and hit-able.
Returning to old school soul music and fusing it with today’s ideas and arrangements is a blinding move for BrokenToiz, and I’m thinking when this group of talent hits the live stage, they’ll be dressed in bright colours, dancing and having f-u-n. And that’s what’s missing today. So, I say, bring it on BrokenToiz! (Buy from www.gvrrecords.com)
About the Writer
Sharon Davis ran the Four Tops fan club before spearheading Motown Ad Astra, catering for all the Motown acts, where she edited the in-house magazine TCB. Was publicist for Fantasy, Stax and Salsoul before joining Motown Records in London. Formed her own press/promotion company Eyes & Ears, worked for Blues & Soul magazine and website, and became a full time author and researcher. To date Sharon has written eleven books (her last A Girl Called Dusty published by Carlton Books) and she’s working on her next - Divas Of Motown. As a researcher, Sharon assisted Diana Ross with her autobiography Secrets Of A Sparrow, and is now in constant demand for her knowledge about Motown and its artists.
“Wow. A real live band… that’s rare today. Their name is BrokenToiz and the self-contained Los Angeles-based band sends a message of peace to the world with their debut single titled “Got To Get A Message To You” on the GVR Records Label distributed worldwide by REMG/INgrooves. BrokenToiz is a throwback to the soulful musical days of bands like Sly & The Family Stone, EWF, and The Ohio Players. They might make you want to head up to the attic to break out your psychedelic paisley jacket, red and white striped hip hugger pants and lighted platform shoes ready to hit the dance floor once again. The band’s first single, “Got To Get A Message To You” is timely given the tense social climate in the United States and around the world.”