Formed in 1966, Mabel Greer’s Toyshop were named in the wake of Sgt Pepper, when whimsical titles were all the rage.
The ‘band that became Yes’ even got as far as a John Peel session, although the only recordings of theirs previously available were on psych comps of dubious quality. The idea here, say founder members Clive Bayley and Bob Hagger, is to bring a piece of history to life using the technology of today, which is what they’ve done, incorporating the talents of former Yes producer Billy Sherwood and keyboard veteran Tony Kaye. It’s not as pointless as some might think, given the resurgence of young psych bands creating a fresh audience for these sounds. Of the six old songs re-recorded here, Electric Funeral and Get Yourself Together retain their other-wordly quality while benefiting from fuller arrangements and cleaner production. Beyond And Before, previously driven by Chris Squire’s distinctive bass tone, is now far lighter on the ear, with a soaring chorus and swirling organ. Often it sounds as if someone has spiked Simon & Garfunkel. Apparently only cold drink was taken in the making, but how you unwind to new instrumental Oceans is up to you.