Notes: A rereleased Special Edition of the album included demos of “Things She Said,” “There Was a Little Boy,” “Last Plane Out,” unreleased “Blank Page,” and the odd thirty-second “Eenitam Yot Eht” (“The Toy Matinee” backwards).
“Toy Matinee only…produced one CD, but [it] is a gem of progressive pop and worth digging for.” DE “Formed in 1990 by keyboardist, producer, and composer Patrick Leonard and…singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Gilbert, the Los Angeles-based [group] was known for its polished and carefully arranged pop/rock ditties. A studio savvy duo who were comfortable with collaborations, Gilbert had also joined forces with Sheryl Crow, Michael Jackson, and Tina Turner, while Leonard has worked with such pop luminaries as Elton John, Madonna, Roger Waters, and Jewel.” JV The album is also “packed with neat, almost Keith Emerson-like keyboard lines from Leonard.” DE Together Gilbert and Leonard “produced nine tracks of clever, intelligent, rich pop music” DE that run the “gamut…from dance to rock to ballad to almost-blues.” DE
“The CD starts with the layered vocals of Last Plane Out, a powerful anthem about the world and its downhill path.” DE “Like most of the band's songs, [it is] characterized by diatonic vocal harmonies, a tight rhythm section, blues guitar riffs, and a hook-heavy chorus.” JV
“The band's songs are mostly unique, though shades of a Pink Floyd ballad can be heard at the beginning of the band's” JV “wistful” DE “self-titled track, and Steeley Dan-sounding chord progressions are undeniably present on…The Ballad of Jenny Ledge.” JV
“With Turn It on Salvador, a song dedicated to Salvador Dali and immersed in appropriately surreal lyrics, Julian Lennon chimes in with backing vocals in a section that sounds particularly Beatlesque. Sal's Clarinet Trio — Jon Clarke, Jon Kip, and Donald Markese — closes [the song] with a swinging melodic phrase that compliments Leonard's concordant piano passages.” JV
There’s also the “hauntingly sweet ballad We Always Come Home” DE alongside songs about “obsession (Things She Said), …loss (Queen of Misery), and the pain of never quite fitting in (There Was a Little Boy).” DE
“All in all, …Toy Matinee…offers thoughtfully constructed and exceptionally played pop/rock songs alongside a number of slightly derivative songs that have a bit too much of that teased-out 1990s hair band aura.” JV However, with its “marvelous hour or so of progressive pop music, Toy Matinee is a definite winner.” DE