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A Tale Re-Toad 

After a 16 year studio hiatus, Toad the Wet Sprocket re-emerges

George Harrison waited 15 years before following up his 1987 album Cloud Nine with Brainwashed in 2002. Grace Jones went 19 years between releasing 1989's Bulletproof Heart and 2008's Hurricane. And perhaps most famously, The Eagles took nearly three decades off between studio albums, finally issuing 2007's Long Road Out of Eden, 28 years after The Long Run.

With the successful Kickstarter funding—over $264,000 raised on a $50,000 goal—and subsequent release of New Constellations last October, 16 years since 1997's Coil, Santa Barbara alt-rock band Toad the Wet Sprocket joined that group—although with perhaps a little more spring in their step.

According to bassist Dean Dinning, this record is likely just the first of many second generation Toad the Wet Sprocket albums, unlike those other bands who haven't recorded again.

"I think that things are going really well right now," said Dinning in a phone interview with the Source. "Certainly doing the Kickstarter was huge. We knew our fans would show up for that but had no idea to that degree. It showed us that they were there waiting 16 years for this and we really pulled it off. I think it is the beginning of phase two. We've still got a lot of great music in us."

Known for apprehension-riddled alt-rock songs that echoed the melancholy success of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion," Toad the Wet Sprocket tracks like "Something's Always Wrong" and "Walk on the Ocean" became haunting acoustic anthems for the early 90s.

Resting on those albums' success well into the new millennium, Toad the Wet Sprocket occasionally put together reunion tours.

"We were having a good time, but we weren't happy with our whole thing just being about the past," admitted Dinning. "We wanted to bring in some new music to revitalize the project. So we brought some new songs in live and it re-energized us every day that we did."

With the exception of the bright and poppy title track, New Constellations picks up right where Toad the Wet Sprocket left off nearly two decades ago. Songs like the sparsely somber "Golden Age" find lead singer Glen Phillips just as vulnerable as ever, and "Is There Anyone Out There" is equally forlorn as "Good Intentions," the band's last real hit.

Over the last several years, Dinning said that he and Phillips—separately—had been squirreling away songs they worked on for other projects, just in case they ever got back together. Turns out, that was a good idea.

Toad the Wet Sprocket

7:30 pm. Wed., Feb. 5

Tower Theatre

835 NW Wall St.

Tickets $34-$39 at towertheatre.org

About The Author

Ethan Maffey

Both a writer and a fan of vinyl records since age 5, it wasn't until nearly three decades later that Oregon Native Ethan Maffey derived a plan to marry the two passions by writing about music. From blogging on MySpace in 2007 and then Blogspot, to launching his own website, 83Music, and eventually freelancing...
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