Play.Rock.Music by Toadies (Kirtland Records)

For their fifth album the Texas band has produced visceral and intelligent rock’n’roll that bursts out of the speakers with vitality and often dark humor.

Rattler’s Revival is the shimmying and shaking opener, frontman Vaden Todd Lewis imagining if we could just shed our skins of civility and live like a cold-blooded snake in a world “Where social graces are never needed“.  The guitars rev up even more for follow-up Get Low, the song catchy as hell, you’ll be tapping your feet, nodding your head and getting into the mosh pit when the song is played live.

Doni Blair’s bass slinks in to begin Summer of the Strange, plucking away slowly as the rest of the band gets alternately tough and creepy.  On Beside You Chris Vogeler and Lewis trade haunting guitar themes atop Blair’s fat bass and Mark Reznicek’s drums, then the band jumps into some hard rocking noise on this modern day Wrapped Around Your Finger.

There’s a likeable country-blues thing going on with Animals, Lewis wailing, Vogeler slaying and a chorus that will have you singing “Tonight we’re just two animals! (Hey!)” with abandon.  Laments of a Good Man once again takes on the topic of wishing for a different life, this time with the aid of a devilish chorus chanting the dark side of Lewis’ commentary on the suburban life of a good man as Blair’s thundering bass swirls amongst blues and Primus-like itchy guitar noise-funk, sure to be a live favorite.

Play.Rock.Music closes with the soulful ballad The Appeal featuring Lewis’ strongest vocals on the album, coupled with equally anguished yet subtly-played guitar work.

Toadies started in 1989, went through ups and downs and a long breakup and subsequent reformation and are now in a place where they make the music they love and share that love with their Texas fans every year at the Dia De Los Toadies outing as well as continue to make angry, catchy and fun Rock.Music.

Toadies will be on the road with Helmet this Fall.

(Review by Bret Miller)


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