Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

Toad The Wet Sprocket

New Constellation

2013-11-13

If Toad The Wet Sprocket lead singer Glen Phillips is afraid of anything, it's certainly not appearing vulnerable. This is demonstrated by the lyrics found on TTWS' first album since 1997's Coils. No longer a quartet of Californian teens using one of Monty Python's jokes as a moniker, New Constellations offers a reflective, often beautiful 46 minutes of meticulously polished alternative rock. Topics covered include regret, unstable love, and the illusion of feeling free. Every element sounds perfectly in place: the drums pound but don't overwhelm, sustained sinewy guitar lines float but don't trail off, and Phillips' voice is emotive but remarkably contained. Nothing about this record sounds raw despite the ripe transparency of the lyrical content, but perhaps this isn't a flaw: the steady hand of producer Mikal Blue (Five For Fighting, OneRepublic) leaves no room for grit or imperfection. Some moments on New Constellation sparkle and shine from the rest - like the interplay between the guitar riff and drum pattern on "Get What You Want" and the exponentially rising tension in album closer "Enough" - but a lot of the time the songs feel too calculated to be truly memorable.

Recommended Tracks: #2 "California Wasted", #7 "Get What You Want", #10 "The Eye"

Sigmund Steiger

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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