Flotation Toy Warning
Formed in 2001, London-based space rock/chamber pop collective Flotation Toy Warning combine the earnestness of the Flaming Lips with the melodic attack of Air. The British quintet is made up of frontman Donald Drusky, drummer Don LeCannes, Magnesi Rish, Benedict L. Maidsaver, and Victoria W. Vest. Flotation Toy Warning released two four-track EPs in 2002, followed by their atmospheric full-length debut, Bluffer's Guide to the Flight Deck, in 2004 on the Pointy label. It was released in the United States on Misra the following year. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Pop/Rock - Released August 17, 2004 | Talitres Records
Granddaddy, Mercury Rev, Sparklehorse, and the Flaming Lips are all names that will be inevitably dropped when trying to describe the elegant space pop that emanates from this frustratingly inventive/derivative London collective. Flotation Toy Warning -- they will come to regret that name -- are so intent on shrouding themselves in mystery that it often overshadows the material. While their murky biography aims for a Decemberists' level of dubious achievement (arctic explorers, failed inventors, and flying machine test pilots), the music itself is highly melodic, occasionally uplifting, and alarmingly easy to digest -- for all of their talk about "a soundtrack created from previously unknown instruments," Bluffer's Guide to the Flight Deck sticks to the teeth like peanut brittle. Like the Lips, FTW craft warm and humane sounding confections out of electronic mediums, a feat that's accomplished to perfection early on with "Happy 13." It's an instantly contagious fusion of Stereolab minimalism and Polyphonic Spree grandeur with a keyboard line that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Air's Moon Safari. What sets the band apart from all of its obvious influences are the vocals. Donald Drusky's distinctly British delivery sounds like a less nervous Ray Davies, and when he plays with syllables, whether profane or genteel, it's always in the service of the song. "Popstar Reaching Oblivion," the epic "Donald Pleasance," and the deliciously brief "Made from Tiny Boxes" all make for a stellar first half, but by the time the listener arrives at the 15-minute closer, what once sounded so fresh and open now feels unfinished and repetitive. Bluffer is by no means a bad record. In fact, it may end up on many a critic's "Best Of" list come December, but for all of their detailed attention to back-story, enigmatic lyrics, and supposed inventiveness, Flotation Toy Warning's full-length debut is surprisingly conservative. ~ James Christopher Monger
Alternative & Indie - Released April 24, 2011 | Talitres Records
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