Reviews August 21, 2023

PRBLMS by NOT A TOY – Album Review

by Landon Ungerman

NOT A TOY’s new album, PRBLMS, is a thrilling, genre-defying gem. Lead singer and producer, Branson Hoog, brings a unique vocal timbre to every track, delivering an authentic sound, while exploring an array of musical styles. To put it simply, PRBLMS is versatile. By seamlessly blending rap-influenced verses, catchy pop melodies and dance patterns, NOT A TOY crafted a body of work that is both comprehensive and dynamic. Each track, and the album as a whole, is meticulously arranged, effortlessly transitioning between sonic styles and themes. “Grown Folk Problems’” introspective themes of growing up while resisting adulthood is likely a hard-hitting one for every listener, while tracks such as “Nervous” & “Say So” delve into themes of young love and relationship challenges, making the album relatable and heartfelt.

The poignant trumpet solo in the post-chorus of “Soul Slippin’” so beautifully creates a soothing atmosphere for the listener to immerse themselves in the song’s sorrowful, heavy message. Two tracks down, one of the album’s key stone moments takes shape on “DIE W/ U,” when the production switches up altogether, artfully taking a dark turn with heavy, spatial production. PRBLMS is a polished and radio-ready album that showcases NOT A TOY’s exceptional talent and musical vision. Every moment felt real, and the band visited each musical motif for the perfect amount of time before guiding the listener to a totally different space in their journey through what may be the best album to come out of Denver this year.

Catch NOT A TOY Live on 9/8 in Downtown Greeley at The Greeley Block Party!