Monday, 20 January 2014

New Constellation by Toad the Wet Sprocket

Toad the Wet Sprocket is a garage band that formed in South Carolina in the mid-eighties. Some years later they had a string of minor chart hits, with their unique form of very smooth alternative rock. I liked a few of their well known songs, but I never had any of their albums, and I would not have called myself a fan. When the band broke up in 1998, I barely noticed. I bought their greatest hits a couple years later, but I didn’t listen to it much.

Something changed when I moved 3,000 miles from home. Slowly, some things that hadn’t seemed so great before took on a slightly different meaning. I found myself playing that greatest hits album a little more often and asking my English friends if they had ever heard of the band. This mainly got me strange looks (which is a bit unfair – the band name comes from a Monty Python sketch).

Unbeknownst to me, the band reformed a few years ago and began work on a new album. Apparently having been burned by the record industry in the past, they decided to self publish and put the album on kickstarter, asking for $50,000. They got the required funding in less than one day, and the album New Constellation was born later that year.

My older sister sent me a copy of the album for Christmas. Having given several spins, I’ve got to say I really like it. The best song is probably the title track (you can listen to it below), but there are several other really good ones, particularly ‘I’ll Bet On You’ and ‘Is There Anyone Out There’. In fact, it is an album that I can put on and just let it ride, as long as I turned it off before the last song, which is kind of a dud.

So, if you like smooth, alt-rock, try listening to this. If you like it, you’ll probably like the album. If you don’t, you won’t.

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