Earlier this week, we premiered “Moral Melt,” a song off of the Island Of Misfit Toys’ sophomore album, I Made You Something. It’s quickly become one of my favorite tracks of the year. Now, the entire thing is here and it’s just as good. Caveat: This isn’t going to be for everyone — the Chicago collective’s ebullient, intricately-arranged baroque rock is a lot to take in. It’s theatrical, it’s over the top in the best way — these songs could soundtrack Broadway musicals (which would be so dope), or they could just lift you up during a good cry. For those that this connects with, it’s going to be absolute gold.
All of these songs sprawl out with a radiating, positive energy. Even when they’re dealing with our darkest anxieties and fears, they manage to feel light. They build to big, sweeping, communal choruses. On “Burble,” the whole collective shouts: “How could you expect me to do all my talents promised? How could you expect perfection when I’m Gemini dishonest? How could I do better than my best?” The response? “I’m just a kid.” The next track sees them stating, “A human being is a hyphen,” celebrating individuality in all of its varied forms. Even on the more low-key songs, quickly-picked guitars are backed by horns, strings — there’s a sense of grandeur and scope to it all.
Frontman Anthony Sanders jumps around on every track with reckless abandon — one minute he’s screaming, the next he’s doing some mile-a-minute spoking word, and then all of a sudden he’s emoting out to an audience that feels like it includes the whole world. These are big, bright songs meant for maximum impact. I Made You Something is a big performance piece. It’s about the performative nature of life, how we have to adjust ourselves to fit in and get by, and how freeing it feels when we can just be ourselves. How exciting it is to be in love and in lust, or angry and confused. It’s a lot to take, but letting it just take you over is the best.