The Island of Misfit Toys have come a long way in recent months. As little as six weeks ago the eight-piece graced the Schubas stage; the earnest appreciation of the opportunity declared by the members. Now, they have one-upped themselves by playing a Saturday night headlining show in Lincoln Hall on April 23rd.
If you were to see the show, you would not be surprised at this sharp incline of success. The full team of eight young members were dynamic and their adolescent anthems were enhanced by their unerring swagger and musical ability. That is without mentioning the constant exchanging of instruments. Guitar, bass, drums. Check. Keyboard, xylophone, saxophone. Check. Flute. Melodica. Accordion. Yes. Washboard? Yes, even a washboard.
IOMT played songs from their upcoming album, Bear Hair, scheduled for release in June on Tandem Shop Records. The songs were genre-bending, showing the main fragments of alternative and indie rock while at times moving into more frenzied elements of ska, hip-hop, punk and slam poetry.
Most captivating of all was my new discovery of the depth to Anthony Sanders’ lyrics. What began in my mind as trivial subjects such as facial hair and romance took on new meaning - self-doubt and self-proclamation. Maturity and the lack of it. Catholic school and - possibly the most troubling for 20-somethings - work. But predominantly, it's a focus on the journey from past to future.
These topics are approached with a maturity and gravity that is disarming. And what was once a meaningless title now holds so much profundity. What better than facial hair to represent the turbulent passage into manhood?
Some lyrical gems highlighting this transition period include, “We get so heavy and we’ve got to let it breathe” and “Their mouths were put inside my head, now I take all my heroes to bed.”
This is life, and one eloquent 20-year-old’s take on it. And if the record lives up to the potential displayed in their live performances, I am extremely excited for Bear Hair.
I am running out of things to say about the Island of Misfit Toys. I can’t get enough. Go see them. Roll on June.
Check out more show reviews:Lupe Fiasco at House of Blues