Sound: This is a great album, and probably the group's best known album to date. It is considered by many to be grunge or post-grunge, but I think the sound of this album is more like straightforward rock with a hint of southern rock. It is also one of the few "alternative rock" albums of the early 90's that had a little more emphasis on solos.
The most popular song off this album is "Possum Kingdom", which broke the Toadies into the mainstream the year it was released. However, this album is unique in that every song has something different to offer, and I wouldn't consider any song on the album bad.
The overall style of this album mostly puts the emphasis on the the guitars, and the singing of Todd Lewis, the lead singer, although there are moments where the drums and bass shine as well. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics are an important part of this album. Some songs can be hard to interpret, but they seem to revolve stories of a man who either thinks about killing, kidnapping or raping people ("Happy Face", "Possum Kingdom", "Tyler" etc.) and some seem to be about religion and their effect on people ("Backslider"), and also being pissed off about being dumped ("Quitter"). Overall, it almost seems to be a "concept album" about an insane guy.
The lyrics always fit well with the music, and seem to reflect the general mood of the character in the song. Todd Lewis is an amazing singer, and definitely the perfect singer for this kind of music. His voice is very unique and versatile, proven throughout the album's songs. // 8
Overall Impression: I think that this album is the epitome of what the toadies are. Personally, it is my favorite of all of the Toadies albums. Compared to other bands of the early to mid 90s, they offer something different than what was around at that time. This album is definitely one of the classic mid 90s albums. It's a shame that they never got more popular than they did.
A quick run down of the songs:
01. "Mexican Hairless": A short instrumental intro for the album, this song does a good job at conveying the general mood of the album.
02. "Mister Love": A fast, nervous sounding song that has some rocking riffs and a good chorus.
03. "Backslider": A slower sounding song based on a southern rock sounding riff. This song features some great singing by Todd Lewis.
04. "Possum Kingdom": The Toadies most popular song. It has a cool verse riff that switches time signatures every time it is repeated, while still managing to sound catchy. There is also a second guitar playing some lead with heavy use of the whammy. The chorus is very catchy and the bridge sees the guitarist manipulating the feedback with the whammy bar. Overall, one of my favorite Toadies songs. Anyone who is a fan of 90s alternative music has probably heard this song at one point.
05. "Quitter": This song is about getting dumped and being pissed, and it is definitely an angry song. The lead guitar in this song isn't complicated, but it does really add to the song.
06. "Away": Starts off with some menacing sounding lead guitar, and features the Toadies using their distinctive strumming patterns in the verse.
07. "I Come From The Water": Another song based on a southern rock sounding riff, it is a good listen and has a short but good solo that almost reminds you ZZ Top.
08. "Tyler": One of the best songs from the album. This song is about man who is obsessed with a girl, stalks her, and eventually "pays her a visit". The music does a good job in conveying the excitement that the main character is feeling, and so does some of Todd Lewis' vocals on the last chorus. It has a very catchy verse and chorus. However, this is definitely not a song to play while on a date.
09. "Happy Face": This song is talking about thinking of killing someone who constantly gets on your nerves. Todd's vocals are the focus of this song with lines such as "I try to wish you away, I'll do more than wishin' someday. No no no more son of a b-tch! No no no more wishin"
10. "Velvet": One of the more obscure songs off this album, this song repeats lines like "get away!", "You hurt me your ****!" etc. For basically the whole song. It has a weird yet interesting verse section.
11. "I Burn": The last track off this album, and one of the best, this song starts off with acoustic guitars, and eventually becomes heavily distorted. This song also features the Toadies distinctive strumming patterns. Todd's vocals are also very good on this song.
The thing I love about this album is that all of the songs have something good about them. It's one of those albums that you can listen to all the way through every time. The one thing I wish that this album did was to become more popular. This album is seriously underrated with the exception of "Possum Kingdom".
If it was stolen or lost I would buy another copy, and one for each of my friends so they could realize just how good this album is! // 9