Review: Bag of Toys – Access 10

Review: Bag of Toys – Access 10

Ballyhoo! – Access 10
Track Listing:
1.) That’s The Girl
2.) The Expat
3.) Eternal Optimist
4.) Smile Like That
5.) Let That Love Out
6.) Tear Your Dress
7.) I Could Die Now
8.) Get It Up
9.) Morning Glow
10.) Take What You Need

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: June 28th, 2011
Official Website: Bag of Toys Website

Artist Background:
Fresh from San Francisco, Bag of Toys is a four piece acoustic surf-rock band now based in Wilmington, NC. The band has released three albums and has sold thousands of CDs across the globe. Original music by Bag of Toys has been licensed for use on a national Microsoft commercial, an episode of Bones on the Fox network, two Universal Pictures movies as well as numerous surfing DVDs. They’ve also had the distinction to share the stage with bands like Fishbone, Pato Banton & Sean Kingston.

In 2006, the group released their full-length debut album, Nooner and quickly propelled to the top of the rankings for unsigned acoustic artists on Bag of Toys released their second full-length album in July of 2008 entitled Afternooner & in May of 2010 a third album, Stripped Alive, was released; which captured 12 of the band’s biggest hits & was recorded completely live in the studio. After a year of recording and performing live across the nation Bag Of Toys is set to release their 4th album titled Access 10 to the ears of music fans across the globe.

Album Review:
Bag Of Toys undoubtedly excels at what they do. With their fourth release, The Bag of Toys entertains you with the same happy and unique acoustic surf rock that they’ve rocked for a number of years in their existence. One of the few differences between some more commercial groups such as Jack Johnson is not only their blend of reggae and rock, but their instrumental depth as a band.

The CD opens up with “That’s The Girl”, the story of falling for the town’s “drunk chick”. It sets the pace for much of the album although other songs are more complex as this one only really varies upon three chords for almost the whole song. It is here that it becomes apparent that no electric guitar work is needed to achieve the sound they do. As a matter of fact Bag Of Toys consists of two acoustic guitar players, without one of them the album may lose some of its liveliness. In some songs there is more than one energetic solo that propels the Bag of Toys ahead of the typical acoustic sets of the 21st century. The different strumming patterns and picking techniques of the guitar, build on to the already progressive, upbeat rhythms.

“Eternal Optimist” is a song about enjoying life for what it is; disregarding its unfortunate and negative moments as the title reads. In one verse Lead-singer Robert Tait goes on to list all the good things in his life. “Open my eyes and breathe in this whole world” is one of the lines placed in the chorus that I like.

“Let That Love Out” is another positive track just as the title hints. Not only consisting of a bluesy solo halfway through, the frisky chords throughout the song remind me of a few acoustic songs featured on some of the latter Slightly Stoopid releases, although this song is at a much more lively pace for the most part.

“As Morning Glow” initially played through my speakers I began to wonder how a Snoop Dogg song got mixed up in this album. But after the major chords started repeating on every beat, I realized the sound of inhaling was a ploy to set the tone for The Bag of Toy’s track titled “Morning Glow”; “Something in my eyes are gleaming, something’s telling me that life’s ok”.

My personal favorite is the last track on the album. Take What You Need is more mellow and relaxed in comparison to the previous 9 tracks. I could only find a few variations on the acoustic riff present throughout the song, but it was the dampened percussion that really tied the mood together in the long run. It is a laid-back two-verse track in which singer Steve Cowgill tells about a girl that he spends a lot of time with and besides the chorus of “Take what you need sometimes and you save the rest for a another life”, that is all.

Access 10 truly is an original piece of art. It is acoustic rock to the max, and is full of positive messages of life experiences. This album is available on June 28th and I suggest you pick this album up! If you haven’t heard of them and want a taste, check out a few of the songs from previous albums they threw up on The Pier’s MP3 Massive section!

Written & Reviewed by: Matt Emodi

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]