I was first exposed to Toyah while watching the movie "Urgh! A Music War" a few years ago. I thought the song she performed for that movie ("Danced") was pretty cool, and proceeded to look up some info on where it came from. I eventually found and bought the product on this very page. This 2 CD set collects the future Mrs. Fripp's first two albums in one place - I guess Safari Records thought that it would be cheaper this way - and I hate to be the lone dissenting voice here, but I just didn't find that much to enjoy on these albums, which was very disappointing to me.
Not that they're *bad* mind you, it's just that I found both "Sheep Farming" and "Blue Meaning" to be... very average musical efforts. Both are for the most part lacking in energy. The musicianship is alright although the band isn't really doing anything new here. Toyah Willcox has an okay voice - it sort of sounds like a cross between Siouxsie Sioux and Nina Hagen, although she lacks the emotional range of the former and is not as guano fornicating insane as the latter. Everything is just... okay, neither offensive nor sublime. Also, 75% of both albums lack a catchy melody... even after repeated listening (for the purpose of reviewing this) I can't remember how most of the songs go. And no, this doesn't mean that I'm some pop-hound that needs insanely catchy songs for the album to be good... I mean, I listen to The Residents for crying out loud (actually, The Residents just might be catchier than this in their own weird way). Overall I just found this CD set to be musically dull and uninspired.
On the positive side though I must admit that Toyah has a talent for writing some interesting lyrics, which make it a damn shame that there is no lyrics booklet included in this set. Also, "Danced" and "Ieya" are both awesome songs, and "Victims of the Riddle" is pretty good as well. Seeing as these are the singles off of these albums, I suspect that Toyah might be a better singles artist than an album artist (I wouldn't know, as I haven't heard any of her other stuff).
In the end I really can't recommend this product to anyone except maybe Toyah fans who have heard her later albums and want to see where she started out. While her lyrics are good and the singles on here are great, the rest of the material on these two albums is just too dull and average to recommend a purchase - I would suggest picking up stuff by Siouxsie and the Banshees, Wire, Bill Nelson's Red Noise or Lene Lovich instead. If you want the good songs off of here, I would advise getting a singles collection and giving this a miss.