Monday, January 14, 2019

100 Albums: "Dulcinea" by Toad The Wet Sprocket

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Toad The Wet Sprocket
Title: Dulcinea
Released: 1994
Genre: 90s-alt contemporary college-rock

The 90s were a weird time for fashion.

As evidenced in the above music video, Toad The Wet Sprocket have a bizarre sense of humor that is completely out of sync with their musical aesthetic. They took their name from the opening line of the Monty Python sketch. In interviews, singer Glen Phillips comes across as the kind of guy it'd be fun to have a game of Scrabble with. In fact, it's easier to think of them not so much as rockstars, but rather as nerds who happen to be really good at music.

Fittingly, there's an undercurrent of intellectual curiosity to their music. Of the twelve tracks on Duclinea, only Something's Always Wrong feels in any way like a love song. Instead, we get tracks like the opener Fly From Heaven which is about the rift between Paul and James after the death of Jesus. The album title, as well as the song Windmills, are references to Don Quixote. Begin and Reincarnation Song explore the ideas of death and the afterlife. And then you have these delightful little turns of phrase in the lyrics, such as the opening line from Nanci: "I can't believe you. You bend your words like Uri Geller's spoons."

None of this would matter if the music weren't any good, but from start to finish Dulcinea is easy to listen to and compulsively singable, from heartfelt ballads like Crowing and Stupid to--especially--rockers like Fall Down and Woodburning. This is an album I can put on at basically any time and enjoy from a band I will see in concert any time they come through town. It's the ultimate comfort food for me.

Further Listening: fear is uneven but has Walk On The Ocean, one of their best songs. Coil is a great album but it doesn't have any true standout tracks.

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