GLYN BAILEY – Toys From Balsa (Private Pressing)

On playing this CD, composed, and mostly played, by Bailey himself, the first thing you notice is that he writes great songs, then that he has a very good voice, and finally that he knows a thing or two about arranging the songs to their best advantage. ‘East And West’ is an affecting ballad about the effect on the child of a marriage break-up, and Anne-Marie Schuller’s excellent vocals, singing from the mother’s point of view, makes this a unsettlingly chilling song. ‘Don’t Just Sit There (Do Something)’ is saved from being just another bar-room rocker by the use of an interesting squelchy backing, and an intriguing Bowie vocal inflection on the chorus. ‘L’Humanité’ has a catchy tune, with the French feel accented by the use of accordian, but the verses seem too verbose and so is not wholly successful. When he brings the guitar back out for ‘He Says She Says’ things get back on track, and the fact that the chorus sticks in your mind after the first hearing shows that Bailey has a knack for the memorable hook. ‘Missing’ is an acoustic gem, with just guitar and electric piano backing a gentle tune, and then ‘My Love Is Out In Space’ shatters the peace with some 70’s style space rock featuring some great riffing guitars. ‘Yellow Rage’ has another of those instantly memorable choruses, but is in reality a deeply disturbing tale of jealousy gone too far. ‘The Plastic Bag Song (Facts)’ is one of his quirkier offerings, but still great to listen to, while ‘Part Of Me’ really brings out the influence of David Bowie in his singing style. ‘D Block Girl’ features some excellent electric and acoustic guitar picking, and ‘Last Day Of Summer’ is another great rocker to end the album, (apart from the bonus track ‘Friends (John And Yoko In Bed)’ – a little slice of whimsy featuring some of his mates). Despite the dark mood of some of the lyrics – jealousy, murder, divorce, funerals – the music is what holds this album together, and even those unsettling songs are cloaked in melodies that belie their disturbing themes. It was a really pleasant surprise to get this album completely out of the blue, as it was so much better than I ever thought it would be, and Glyn Bailey is going to be a name to watch out for on the independent music scene. For more information check out his website at