The Lower Side of Uptown – Toadies Album Review
There are no shortage of rock bands from the 90’s still making albums and touring today. That said, it is rare for a band from that era to release arguably their best album more than 2 decades later. The Fort Worth, Texas quartet have done just that on The Lower Side of Uptown.
In an age when actual rock and roll on the radio is about as rare as a good guitar solo, the Toadies explode into 2017 sounding like they’ve only gotten better at their craft.
There’s nothing pretentious about The Lower Side of Uptown, just fire and brimstone, guitar-laden glory.
Starting off with “When I Die”, you can tell instantly that they are intent on making a mark on the current musical landscape. Fast and loud, this hearkens back to the bombast of Rubberneck reminding me of “Happyface”.
Track 5 “Mama Take Me Home” slows it down with a ballad that has those crescendos and riffs that we have come to expect from the Toadies.
This album is loaded and seems to actually gain steam as it plays on. “Keep Breathing” instantly captured my attention with it’s pounding bass line and fiery intro with a blazing whammy bar. It’s a truly sublime rocker.
Vaden Todd Lewis is a pastor’s son and has consistently used religious themes and imagery in his songs throughout his career. “Amen” keeps that trend alive and is an impassioned plea that is every bit as creepy as the stalker story “Tyler” from Rubberneck. The replayability of this tune and the whole album is why this is my favorite release of 2017.
“Human Cannonball” sounds like the Pixies at their best and would be an amazing experience to behold live. Clocking in at under 2 minutes it is a rollicking ride that keeps the high energy of the album going.
My absolute favorite track is “Brokedown Stupid”. In fact, this is instantly one of my favorite Toadies songs ever. A musical description of that feeling you get after a night of alcohol-fueled bad decisions that leaves you in a muck of despair and self-loathing.
Their cover of Screaming Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” is notable for its genuine appreciation of the original seasoned with a Toadies flair. Employing a tenor saxophone and pained singing style it sounds like a song that was made for this band.
The Lower Side of Uptown finds the Toadies not just alive and well, but aging like a fine bourbon with raging tracks that grab you and don’t let go until the final beat. An instant classic.
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