Purveyors of Asylum-Pop!
Something that we truly appreciate here at Room Thirteen is originality, and here with four-piece band, 12 Stone Toddler, you get it in abundance. It's slightly quirky, psychedelic hard rock with a little bit of sideshow bizarre, and sprinkled with circus balloons!
From the outset you will be opened mouth with understanding exactly what you are listening too! The first sound you hear is that wooden instrument that you scrape another wooden stick down its shaft to create a quick hollow sound, (like that caterpillar creature from kids show, 'Let's Pretend') followed by beating drums, low piano keys, which then tinker quickly in a higher note to produce something a little like fairground music before the deep vocals kick in. It's truly great. The name of the song by the way is, 'Come Back', and describes the struggles of growing up!
Next song, 'Candles On The Cake' is a little more like Frank Zappa's psychedelic rock, whereas in the soon to be released single, 'Twang' we have music that sounds a little like a chase scene in a cartoon, or a non-fuzzy version of riff from Weezer's song 'Hash Pipe'. It's a little bit soul, and a little bit rock, but basically it's groovy, man. Nicely titled, 'Daddy Was A Bad Mother' has a similar simple riff as 'Twang' but with dabs of old-school organ with vein of Keyboard Money Mark.
Things speed up as we turn a little rockabilly with, 'The Rabbit' which shows elements of Brian Setzor and the Stray Cats, with it's dash of boogie, before things slow right down for a mellow number in the form of, 'Precious Cargo' which is a cross between Jack Johnston and Lenny Kravitz sung in a Blues club. Then just to prove that they refuse to be pigeon-holed they give us the camp-romp of, 'Balloonatics' which is like a stageshow number sung in a deep-camp-Italian voice with almost a fairground jig of a musical accompaniment. Chris Otero sings out, "Bal-loons are brightly coloured to be sure (too be sure) // Float them in the air (in the air) // But they end up on the floor!" It's fun, and jaunty, and you can't help but smile. That's showbiz kids!
It's almost like getting a dartboard and writing genres next to each number and then throwing a dart to see what you will get next, as we end up in classic seventies rock with the song, 'Fingers In The Till' with it's clean drum beats that include a cow bell (always a must in hard rock), with large riffs and Doors-esque keyboards. 'Ten Thousand Miles Away' is a little more indie-rock but with flashes of now normal fairground keyboards.
'Tragic Comedy' is a little like, Panic At The Disco without any shouting or big guitar riffs, or even Fall Out Boy if they stopped by to have a go on the dodgems! The album finishes off with 'The Ballad Of Al Coholic' which reminds me of some of Alice Coopers songs from the seventies that are slow, thoughtful and a little too close to something that could quite comfortably appear in The Phantom Of The Opera, like his song, 'See Me In The Mirror'.
This is a band that I would love to see live because if they can bring forward half of the kooky and wackiness of this freak ride through a musical rock circus, then it could well be exactly what a live performance should be all about. Entertainment, excitement and a little touch of the bizarre! This album is one that if nothing else you can lie back and be transported off into a make believe world that Tim Burton would design, and David Lynch would bring to life. It is well worth a listen. Will it sell loads? I really can't say. It's so far from leftfield that it's almost going around the world and coming back around the other side. This could definitely be one of the best albums not to be successful this year. The album is called, 'Does It Scare You?' and that in itself is a very plausible question...