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Review of Toad the Wet Sprocket’s New Constellation

By: Tammy Ruggles

Time has taken nothing from Toad the Wet Sprocket. In fact, like a fine wine, they’ve improved with age (to borrow an old adage).

Each song is enjoyable and entertaining on its own. It’s nice to hear them sound like themselves again. “California Wasted” takes you back to their first stuff, while “New Constellation” introduces you to their new sound. The whole album is a journey of time and emotional experiences—innocence, experience, love, loss, confusion—but nothing leaves you down or heavy or longing for the past…their masterfully cool, ocean-spray vocals make sure of that.

“The Moment” will send you to yesterday but bring you back to today.  The album sounds familiar, but as fresh and new as a brilliantly polished mahogany guitar. You can’t accuse Toad the Wet Sprocket of copying themselves or of bringing stale offerings to the table.

This album is a Toad fan must-have if they want to see how a band can truly mature with time, because it doesn’t sound like an impromptu album slapped together for nostalgia’s sake. It is well thought out, well-orchestrated and arrives on a silver platter.  It’s the kind of music you listen to on a long trip or when you’re in a good mood. There are a few melancholy moments, like in “Golden Age,” but nothing maudlin or melodramatic. “Is There Anyone Out There” is a pretty picture of angst yet it ends on a hopeful note.

Toad can verbalize any complex human emotion into a relatable, universal experience. New Constellation is the soundtrack to the greatest Young Adult novel you’ve never read. Like the ocean, this album rolls with a mesmerizing life force, the song “The Eye” expressing this idea the best.  The final song, “Enough,” which is over six minutes long, starts slowly and builds to a powerful, memorable conclusion.

If you’re a Toad fan, get this album; if you aren’t a Toad fan, this album will make you one. You won’t be disappointed.

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