Post-grunge rockers Toadies emerged in the mid-1990s with a hit single (“Possum Kingdom”) and a well-received debut album (1995’s “Rubberneck). The sky seemed to be the limit. But the follow-up album was shelved by their label and the Vaden Lewis-fronted outfit wasn’t heard from again until 2001’s underwhelming “Hell Below/Stars Above” and they called it quits shortly thereafter.
Toadies reunited in 2008 and have churned out a handful of records since then without ever recapturing the magic of the early days. Latest project “Heretics” find the band moving forward by looking to the past. The 12-track release features deconstructed and acoustically rearranged versions of older material, two brand-new songs, a surprising cover tune and a previously unreleased track. The resulting record ranks as one of the better Toadies efforts.
New tunes “In the Belly of a Whale” and especially “Queen of Scars” are good, but it’s the reworked material that really resonates. New versions of “Tyler,” “Possum Kingdom” and “Backslider” from the debut album are fantastic, and the lads also score with reimagined takes on “Beside You,” “Rattler’s Revival,” “The Appeal,” “Dollskin” and “Jigsaw Girl.” And kudos to Toadies for a completely original, slow-burn take on the Blondie hit “Heart of Glass.” It, like the rest of “Heretics,” is a winner. (Jeffrey Sisk)