The Toadies – Rubberneck

ARTIST: The Toadies

TITLE: Rubberneck

YEAR RELEASED: 1994

CHART ACTION: #56, #1 Heatseekers

SINGLES: Mister Love, Possum Kingdom (#9 Mainstream, #4 Modern, #40 Airplay), Away (#23 Mainstream, #28 Modern), Tyler, Backslider

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I Come From the Water

LINEUP: Vaden Todd Lewis, Darrel Herbert, Lisa Umbarger, Mark Reznicek

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Grungy, hard-edged Austin band surprised everyone with a big 90’s hit, and that really was all they had in ‘em.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: One fantastic song and a few good riffs and ideas don’t a great album make – they barely make a good album. Such is the case for Rubberneck.

Sounding like the Pixies or Fugazi without the dynamic tension or intelligent lyrics, the Toadies came out of Austin to sign with a major label after a couple of indie released EPs, and once a radio station in Orlando started playing “Possum Kingdom”, they caught fire in 1995. Yet the album was disappointing after that song.

Riffs were there, and some interesting ideas were explored, but they didn’t go anywhere special. The first two cuts of the record, an instrumental and their most strident song, seemed to be a poor introduction to the rest of the album. Vaden Todd Lewis’ vocals are also a hinderance at times, trying too much for the shout without the subtlety needed at times. Except for “Possum Kingdom”, it didn’t come together.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Interscope rejected their second album, and they didn’t release a follow up until 2001. By that time, they were basically done-zo. Of course they reunited (three out of for) and are treading the boards today.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, outtakes on a special edition.

 GRADE B-: It’d be a “C+” without “Possum Kingdom”. Just your average alt-rock record.

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