Having been described by a fellow artist as ‘like Laura Marling crossed with Billie Holiday’, Bristol based duo Tamsyn and James, aka Toyface, are a mouth watering proposition for music fans. With a varied collection of 11 songs making up their debut album, the pair have blended an eclectic range of influences that has resulted in an album with strong jazz and cinematic leanings; both playful and plaintive.
The pair’s songwriting process is varied: sometimes involving Tamsyn writing lyrics alongside her own simple structures on guitar; but often times working from a cappellas, which James then lays piano chords underneath. This is clearly a combination that works well and has yielded a crop of songs which are relatable to anybody who has ever found themselves working hard to find a place in the world – a situation most, if not all of us, know well.
In Tamsyn’s own words, the album ‘charts a process of experiencing, coping with, and the eventual resolution of, existential angst that I went through in my early 20s’; by way of heartbreak, physical insecurity and complex family ties’. And it’s from this well of shared stories where Toyface’s main strength lies – their ability to write with searing honesty about the common human experience, and lay those tales out across an intense, shifting musical backdrop.
For an example check out the lead album track ‘Flight’:
With a new festival season on the horizon, there will be plenty more chances to see Toyface in the very near future, starting with that album launch gig on April 24th.