What is this I hear? Do my ears deceive me? Is that the sound of acoustic guitars on a Toadies’ album? This is the same Toadies who brought us Rubberneck and No Deliverance, right? The answer is, damn straight it is!
Feeler rocks out, but with a couple tweaks we haven’t heard before from our beloved garage-rock gods. Originally written for a 1998 release, Feeler finally sees the light of day as the group’s fourth studio record. Despite the fact that the Toadies are old enough to be the fathers of all the members of MGMT combined, they can still show us a thing or two about how to kick ass. At only nine tracks, this short-lived record leaves me yearning for more head banging, more sweating, and more power pumps with clenched fists.
As mentioned earlier, acoustic guitars fill your speakers on the first track, “Trust Game.” It’s an interesting and unexpected way to open the album, leaving you questioning if Feeler is going to turn “radio friendly” or stay balls-to-the-wall, Toadies style. It isn’t until a minute thirty into the song that you hear the expected dissonant wailing guitars of Clark Vogeler. “I got wasted!” screams Todd Lewis towards the end of the track. Yes, the Toadies are indeed back.
“Waterfall” opens with a slow start as well, but wait thirty seconds, and you’ll get to the jackpot. Right then I feel the real album starts. There’s no need for acoustic guitars and slow starts, just get me to the rock and let me turn the volume knob to eleven. I want to wake grandma up to the pounding drums of Mark Reznicek! But please don’t let her listen to “Suck Magic.” She might have a heart attack due to a possible misinterpretation of the lyrics. Suck magic, not suck…well, you know.
If you like getting stuck in a mosh pit, then “Dead Boy” is the song for you. Fuzz guitars, a quicker beat, and easy-to-chant lyrics make for a good live anthem. “ATF Theme” would’ve been my pick for first track. Much like “Mexican Hairless” on Rubberneck, it’s an instrumental rock out, and paying a little homage to the fact that it’s been over 15 years since the Toadies first studio release by opening with the instrumental would’ve been a nice touch. “City of Hate” yields for a good single too as it allows the non-Toadies listener get a good feel for what the group sounds like.
Feeler won’t top the charts, but on this album, Toadies stay true to their sound for the real fans. Even with some new touches, the group’s different time signatures, pissed off screaming, and the occasional slow jams (“Mine” and “Pink”) make for a well-to-do album. I wish they’d added two extra tracks to make the record more rounded, but it’ll have to do until I get a bloody nose at one of their concerts.
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