Toby Coke Time Negator Highlark


The monthly Infinity Cat Cassette Series always brings us the best in new music, and July’s pick, Toby Coke, is as off-the-beaten-path as he is up and coming. Coke’s debut, titled Time Negator, is fittingly named for the void-like state of mind it might induce when listened to on repeat. Consisting of ten tracks that span a half-hour, the result is a psychedelic  medley of Verve vibes and garage rock improvisation, all behind introspective lyrics. Gritty riffs layer over harmonic vocals, stretching themselves out to give us rhythm to fall into, and that we do, listening to the story along the way.

“Too Long” is the first track on the album, and right away, we’re greeted with heavy instrumentals leading up to the chorus-: Coke sings”don’t wait too long,” a line that rings in your brain long after the wail of the guitar fades. “Concubine” hits that same note, both literally and lyrically: “yeah, you like to think that you’re a martyr but you’re just a kid.” It should sound like a taunt, but the whole thing is encased in a gentle coating of honest words and simple and mellowed-out chord progressions; easy to digest and even easier to take to heart. “Peace Pipe Dreams” is exactly the way it sounds: slow and fuzzy, it provides a soundtrack to the inevitable search for our peace pipe promise.

The album’s title track comes up a little past its halfway point, and, with a noticeably sharper edge, it’s an echo that mentions yet another elusive “she,” with Coke singing “I can’t remeber what I came for.” One of the song’s defining lines, skewing our sense of perception into a million tiny windows from which there beams a strange sonic glow. As for the later tracks on the album, “Sarah” is charming and as classic as Coke gets, while “Half Life Girl” tops the album off. This love song about a girl who “never had a home” paints a perfect shade of melancholy to mark the end of an enigmatic yet relatable collection of songs. A must-listen for fans of garage and indie, with a penchant for the sixties rawness of young rock n’ roll.

“Time Negator” is now out on limited edition cassette through Infinity Cat.



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Liz Clements Highlark

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