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Dallas Morning News review

New Toadies CD captures the band’s old magic

By THOR CHRISTENSEN / The Dallas Morning News [ original article ]

The Toadies don’t reinvent themselves on No Deliverance, their first album in seven years. They simply reaffirm their status as one of rock’s most ferocious bands.

Though never a household name, the D-FW group tapped the post-Nirvana zeitgeist with 1994’s Rubberneck, which sold a million copies and spawned “Possum Kingdom” – a spooky radio hit about obsession and possible murder.

But everything went south after that. The band fell out favor at Interscope Records while struggling to make its next album. When bassist Lisa Umbarger quit in 2001, the band split up.

Now, after a series of reunion concerts, the group has returned with No Deliverance, an album that reminds you what made the Toadies so powerful in the first place.

Few bands mix punk and pop with metal as well as these guys. Vaden Todd Lewis and Clark Vogeler are experts at economical guitar noise – a buzz-saw riff here, a shard of feedback there, a perfect power chord to tie it all together. What their songs lack in long solos they make up for in heaviness – and soul.

No Deliverance is the band’s bluesiest album yet. The title track recalls John Lee Hooker’s hypnotic boogie and “Hell in High Water” swaggers with a primal groove. “I Want Your Love” has just eight words, repeated in a metal-blues mantra worthy of Iggy Pop & the Stooges.

Thematically, Mr. Lewis is up to his old tricks, tormenting himself over women he’s loved, hated and lusted after. And at 41, he sings better than ever, channeling Robert Plant, Freddie Mercury and Beelzebub: When he sings “my love you’re so beautiful like a flower” in an angst-ridden tenor, it comes off like a death threat.

Musically, there are no grand surprises on No Deliverance. It’s cut from the same cloth as Rubberneck and 2001’s Hell Below/Stars Above, with lots of Pixies influences and songs in the key of Cobain (“One More” could have fit on Nirvana’s In Utero).

But if the Toadies aren’t breaking new ground, it’s no big deal. In a world where Daughtry passes as “hard rock,” it’s nice to be reminded what real hard rock sounds like.

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