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[Off The Record]
Stars graphics
Toadies
HELL BELOW/STARS ABOVE
(Interscope)

So, anyway, back about 1994, already at the trailing edge of grunge, this nobody band from Dallas released an album called Rubberneck, then toured blindly for about two years, even opening for Bush until somebody figured out they had a hit with " Possum Kingdom. " Duh. Nothing hip about the Toadies, but Rubberneck was and is a ripping album, and tremendous fun. And then . . . nothing. Itís probably appropriate to imagine their having descended into every possible kind of business and creative hell during the intervening seven years.

Hell Below/Stars Above isnít worth the wait, of course. Couldnít be. Guess what? The funís gone, mostly. Not all of it, but the part that made it impossible not to turn the damn radio up ó thatís mostly gone. Somebody sucked it out, they grew up, whatever. Times have changed. No more does the buying public worship the loud guitar, the throbbing drum, and the hoarsely phrased vocal ó not the way it once did. The Toadies? They still rock as if it were 1994, only a half step more cautiously and a full step more professionally. Thereís no " Possum Kingdom " here, so donít go looking. But thereís still a pretty good rock band in Dallas, and thatís good enough news.

BY GRANT ALDEN

Issue Date: March 29 - April 4, 2001





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