Gelsey Bell & Joseph White – Toyland
Toyland is an experimental synth-pop EP of new takes on classic Christmas songs. It is the debut collaboration of musicians Gelsey Bell and Joseph White. Toyland is a secular meditation on the frayed decadence of American life, where strength is found in the bizarre and the unexpected.
The opening title track places us in an off-kilter world of Christmas-noir, a world of strange beauty in which nothing is quite what it should be. White’s dreamy synth and Gelsey Bell’s rich voice continue into a fever dream of “Deck the Halls,” followed by a gentle “Silent Night” that pushes the original’s Christianity aside to muse more fully on scenes of peacefulness, replete with cooing. The EP concludes with White’s rich baritone reciting the famous poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” alongside an idiosyncratic soundscape of bells, electronics, and toy instruments of all shapes and sizes.