Toy Matinee - Toy Matinee

Year of Release: 1990
Label: Reprise
Catalog Number: 26235
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:50:00

I bought this album on a whim back in late 1990 - early 1991, having heard "Last Plane Out" on the radio a few times, in those pre-Gulf War days. I found it wry, humourous and quite pointed. Though I have to admit I imagined Toy Matinee were a band kinda like Tesla or something, playing something not quite metal.

Anyway, I was immediately taken with the album, liking not only "Last Plane" but also "Remember My Name." It does trade in the more pop end of progressive, an area that Spock's Beard also explore (at least from Beware Of Darkness onward). "Turn It On Salvador" has a rhythm as quirky as the artist it's named for, ending with a big band-eque clarinets tootling (at least I think they're clarinets here - there are clarinets somewhere). Julian Lennon contributes backing vocals here (and on "Things She Said").

"Things She Said" is a bit balladic, going from quiet, reflective parts to an energetic, danceable chorus - nice harmonies throughout. While both Patrick Leonard and Kevin Gilbert are credited with music and lyrics, it is clear from Gilbert's following release Thud, that Gilbert had quite a way with words. I've said it many other places throughout my reviews how sad I was when I heard that Gilbert had died, and I still feel that the music world lost someone truly gifted.

There are no highlights, because they are all highlights. Of course, time tends make us gloss over faults, I don't recall thinking there were any at the time it was released either. Each track is a classic in one way or another, rich enough to picked apart and examined for meaning and context. Certainly elements of the lyricists' lives are laid bare in the words, and often what the listener reads into a lyric isn't what the lyricist was thinking. But then you get back to the same two schools of literature: one that says it doesn't matter what the author meant, only what you read into it; the other that says what the author meant has everything to do with it. Personally, I think the true answer is that both are valid - what did the author mean, what was his story, and how do you find meaning for yourself because of it.

Anyway, after this release, Leonard and Gilbert split, Leonard to form Third Matinee with Mr. Mister vocalist Richard Page, and Gilbert to that short-lived solo career. But, for anyone who is looking for thoughtful, often insightful, music ought try and track this release down. This album is simply sublime.

By the way, The Shaming Of The True, Kevin Gilbert's rock opera, was due to be released this past January [2000]. A 70-page booklet accompanies the album and is available through Pop Plus One (acc'd to the Spock's Beard site), details at

This title was reissued in a DVD-A format by DTS in 2001 and regular CD in 2002 - cat no. for both 1030

Last Plane Out (5:13) / Turn It On Salvador (4:54) / Things She Said (4:58) / Remember My Name (5:18) / The Toy Matinee (5:02) / Queen Of Misery (4:31) / The Balad of Jenny Ledge (5:50) / There Was A Little Boy (5:35) / We Always Come Home (4:29)

Kevin Gilbert - lead and background vocals, guitar, keyboards
Patrick Leonard - keyboards and background vocals
Brian MacLeod - drums, percussion
Tim Pierce - guitar
Guy Pratt - bass
Bill Bottrell - background vocals, guitar, percussion
Sal's Clarinet Trio: John Clarke, Donald Markese, John Kip - clarinets
Julian Lennon - background vocals (2, 3)
Derga McBroom - background vocals (3)

Toy Matinee (1990/2001*)

*reissued as an expanded CD and DVD-A)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: March 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 1586
Language: english


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