Although Time Toy were part of the local scene in Athens from 1984 to 1989, when that sleepy little college town was indie rock's Mecca, they never broke beyond the tiniest of local cult followings: two tracks on the soundtrack to the 1986 documentary Athens GA: Inside Out, a split single, and an unreleased album were the sum total of their recorded legacy. Two decades later, the compilation Fly Swatter/Ice Water collects all of the extant Time Toy songs, including the 1987 sessions with John Keane intended for the album, and inadvertently shows exactly why Time Toy never made it out of Athens: they were terrible. It seems the biggest local influences on Time Toy weren't the B-52s and R.E.M., but the Method Actors and Pylon: these songs attempt to mesh the propulsive dance-rock pulse of the latter with the spiky experimentalism of the former as exemplified by Bryan Cook's yowling vocals and Gang of Four-influenced arrhythmic guitar. However, the band wasn't particularly good at either of these things, and the results sound basically incoherent. There are occasional flashes of a solid post-punk groove, particularly on the genuinely good and oddly Fall-like "Keep 4*Ever," but songs like the abysmal "Hi," a 90-second nonsensical half-spoken ramble over a half-baked attempt at Love Tractor-style jangle-funk, are unfortunately more common. This is for only the most die-hard Athens completists.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason