Orange County, California is one of the most historic regions of the country in regards to the modern history of music. It has been home to the likes of Agent Orange, Fu Manchu, Offspring, Aquabats, Thrice, Social Distortion, and so many others. Odds are most music lovers out there have probably not heard of most of those bands save perhaps for the likes of Offspring (no, it’s not THE Offspring, just like it’s not THE Deftones) and Social Distortion at least in terms of that short list. Orange County, California has been home to some of the biggest acts both in the mainstream and the underground. That’s the point of that statement. There are more acts than can be noted in one sitting, plain and simple. One of the region’s bands looking to add its name to that already expansive list goes by the name of, a toi meshen. Yes, that is really the band’s name. It is pronounced A Toy Machine. The band released its self-titled debut album this past October (October 1st to be exact). The ten-track, thirty-seven minute record is an interesting first effort from the band. That is thanks in large part to its sound. The easiest way to define the band’s sound is in its similarity to that of Linkin Park, Breaking Benjamin, and certain other more well-known acts. That is thanks to its balance of rap and rock elements throughout the course of the record. Interestingly enough even with such comparison, the band actually holds its own against the likes of LP and other rap rock acts. One of the best examples of that ability lies in the album’s opener ‘Waste of Time.’ That song will be discussed shortly. ‘Phony People’ is another key example of the band’s famliar sound and its abiilty to use said sound to hold its own against its more well-known counterparts. ‘Tear Down,’ the album’s penultimate is one more example of the band’s sound and its ability to use that sound to hold its own against its more well-known counterparts. All three songs noted here each show in their own way what audiences can expect from the band’s self-titled debut. Together with the other seven songs not noted here, the album in whole proves to be one that is a promising start for the band.
a toi meshen’s self-titled debut album is a good start for the band. Listening through the course of its ten total tracks, it is easy to make a comparison between this five-piece Orange County, CA-based band and the likes of Breaking Benjamin, Linkin Park and to a lesser degree Shinedown among other more well-known counterparts. Even with such comparisons easily made, it can be said of the band and its debut album that both do a good job of proving independent acts (both those signed to indie labels and those that are unsigned) can and in many cases do hold their own against their more well-known counterparts. That is proven right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Waste of Time.’ This rap-rock composition takes the influence of the noted acts to form a song that radio programmers would be just as comfortable adding to their stations’ play lists as any of the songs from said acts. Audiences can hear that mix of sounds for themselves via the band’s bandcamp page at http://atoimeshen.bandcamp.com/releases. In terms of the song’s lyrical content, vocalists Tony Lanza and Daynon Lato don’t come out and say whether the song is referring to a broken romantic relationship or friendship at any point in the song. That is exemplified as Lanza raps over Lato’s own vocals in the song’s lead verse, “At a time/To define/Who we are/Where we at/How it is/It ain’t a prophecy/We relaying/A part of a tragedy/You cannot/Justify/What you do/Cuz I’m not gonna wait/You can never create/You in a blind state/Destroy your fate/Take me back/To the day/When I was never locked in a cage/Easy to rock the spot/Drop/My world is hot/Moving on/Understand where we stand/How we dropping the plan/Looking back at our time/I realize it was never mine.” And that is just the start. In the song’s second verse, the duo’s call and response paints even more of a vivid picture as they sing/rap against one another, “Rising up/From the fall/As I call/Just to weaken you all/Is it making me stronger/I feel the anger within/Begin my ultimate sin/Rah/Said to me/Now the hold that you had is now gone/It’s a twist of reality/Don’t get it twisted/Avoid the fact you missed it/I’m the one/That is breaking you down/Now I see all the madness around/And I’m not gonna take it/So check it out/I’m at the very point/To kill the joint.” Yet again there is some ambiguity in the song’s lyrical content. That ambiguity is maintained in the song’s third and final verse. considering the fact that the band left the song’s interpretation at least somewhat in the air is actually a good thing. The song is clear enough lyrically that listeners know that it comes from a very personal place. Now whether or not the song comes from a romantic or general personal standpoint is another story. And in all honesty regardless of which angle is the correct one, it could be used for both in examining these lyrics. That dual use of the song’s lyrics coupled with the song’s overall musical content makes it a solid example of what makes this record a good first effort from e toi meshen. It’s just one example, too. ‘Phony People’ is another example of what makes this album a good first effort from the band.
‘Waste of Time’ is a clear example through its musical and lyrical content as to why a toi meshen’s debut album is a good start for the band. The personal, self-assured statement made through the song’s lyrical content set against its solid musical content makes it a song that could easily be the song to break the band on any mainstream rock radio station. It is just one example of what makes this album a good first effort from the band. ‘Phony People’ is another example of what makes this record a good first effort from a toi meshen. Just as with ‘Waste of Time,’ this song’s musical content clearly shows the influence of its more well-known counterparts. It can also be heard via the band’s bandcamp page. In regards to the song’s lyrical content, the song is a sharp indictment of all of the fake people in the world. This could apply to people in our everyday lives, the fake people who line the halls of the entertainment world, and anywhere else. Lanza and Lato make that clear as they rap/sing against one another, “Look at all the phony people out there/They’re the reason that I don’t even care/And now I’m forced to make you tell the truth/And make you realize that you’re full of/Lies.” The pair goes on in the song’s second verse, saying, “And I don’t believe/That you can prove/All the stories that you devise/Cause now I know/That what I see/Is far from perfect.” It’s not the first time that any band has crafted such an indictment of the fake people who fill the world. That is a given. But it is still a solid statement in its presentation here. That being the case, it becomes yet another example of what makes e toi machine’s self-titled debut record a good first effort. And together with ‘Waste of Time,’ both songs together paint an even richer picture of what makes this record a good first outing for the band.
‘Waste of Time’ and ‘Phony People’ are both clear examples of what makes a toi meshen’s self-titled debut a good first effort from the band. While both songs are good examples of what the album has to offer they are also not the only examples. ‘Tear Down’ is one more example of just what a toi meshen has to offer in its debut record. Much as with ‘Waste of Time’ this song is another radio-ready composition. That is exhibited through its up-tempo musical content. The balance of the song’s guitar and keyboard line throughout the course of the driving tempo will keep listeners fully engaged. The song’s lyrical content will keep listeners just as engaged as Lanza takes the lead, rapping “On the inside where it all began/Pressing on my mind for the right plan/And it feels out of time/And it feels like an SOS/From the outside as I’m looking in/Trying to make new in my old skin/And I don’t understand/Why you treat me the way you do/Yeah I don’t like it/I think twice/I won’t pay the ultimate price/Now I’m walking backwards/Falling from the weight of you/So here I am again/And I’m standing.” Lanza comes across as addressing a figure that aims to…well…tear down others emotionally and psychologically. That is made clear in the song’s chorus in which Lanza and Layto write, “Is this what you’re looking for/Tear down/You tear me down/And I’m about to break/I think I’m breaking/Tear down/You wear me own/I just can’t sit and take it/I’m just about to break/On the front side/Seeing crystal clear/Never too far from a lost tear.” No matter how much said figure tries to tear down the song’s speaker, that speaker never lets that happen, thus the line, “So here I am again/And I’m standing.” it comes across as a solid message of inner strength and self-confidence for listeners. That is just this critic’s own take on the song of course. It could very well be wholly wrong. If however it is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark then it shows even more why a toi meshen’s self-titled debut is a good first effort from the band. Of course it is not the only other song that could be cited as an example of what makes this record worth at least one listen. Any of the other seven songs that make up the rest of the album’s body could be cited just as easily. That being the case, all ten tracks featured in this record come together to show why this new record is a good effort in whole.
a toi meshen’s self-titled debut record is a good first effort from the band. This is exhibited from start to finish in the album’s ten-track, thirty-seven-minute run time. Musically speaking, the album presents a band that holds its own against the likes of Linkin Park, Breaking Benjamin, Shinedown and other more well-known counterparts to the band. Lyrically, its personal stories and social commentary make it even more worth hearing. The combination of its musical and lyrical content together makes a toi meshen a solid start for the band. a toi meshen is available now and can be ordered direct via the band’s website at http://www.atoimeshen.com and the band’s official bandcamp page at http://atoimeshen.bandcamp.com. More information on a toi meshen is available online along with the band’s latest news at:
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