Mabel Greer's Toyshop started out in 1966 as the precursor to the legendary progressive rock band Yes. Basically MGT evolved into Yes when MGT founders Clive Bayley and Bob Hagger left. Now many years later, Bayley and Hagger decided to hit the recording studio to see if there was any magic left. Mabel Greer's Toyshop never released an album back in the day so their debut album comes almost 50 years after the band’s formation!
The album, “New Way of Life,” features original Yes keyboardist and former MGT member Tony Kaye along with former Yes member Billy Sherwood, alongside both founding MGT members plus Hugo Barré. The sound is rooted firmly in the late sixties and even features two former MGT songs that wound up on the debut self-titled album by Yes, “Beyond and Before” and “Sweetness.” Both tracks were co-written by Clive Bayley, so they certainly deserve to be “covered” by MGT. Perhaps neither sound better than their original Yes versions, but both work extremely well regardless.
But this is not just a trip down memory lane for MGT. The band also wrote all new material as well which stand up well next two the aforementioned Yessongs. The lead single “Electric Funeral” (NOT the Black Sabbath song), “Get Yourself Together” and the title track start the album off in fine fashion with solid melody, tight playing and one foot firmly in the 60s psychedelic era. The band even gets more adventurous on tracks like “Oceans” which feels like improv and proves the band is more freeform than Yes normally was.
“New Way of Life” is bound to please any fans of classic progressive rock. It is a MUST own for any fan of Yes’ music. It isn’t Yes but MGT has more fire in their belly than Yes does, given how lazy their last record was! Mabel Greer’s Toyshop have finally released their debut record. Let’s hope they get the credit they deserve!