11 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like the Dave Matthews Band, Big Head Todd & The Monsters built their following by consistently touring the college circuit and allowing their laid-back, free-flowing jams to spread the word. As a result, their studio albums have often showed only the band’s restrained side. One can hear hints of their musical virtuosity in any of the grooves that surface here, but the cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightnin’” shows where the band is capable of going. The band doesn’t need to completely immerse itself in gritty guitar licks to get its point across. The mellow sway of “Beautiful” and the easeful flow of “Muhammad Ali” prove they can switch it up at will. Perhaps most appealing is how they so naturally fit the gait of the Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden,” as if it had been written specifically for them. “Back to the Garden” is more in line with their modern-hippie atmospherics, while “Happiness Is” tightens it up for a chance at pop radio with tight harmonies and a chorus designed to stick in your mind.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like the Dave Matthews Band, Big Head Todd & The Monsters built their following by consistently touring the college circuit and allowing their laid-back, free-flowing jams to spread the word. As a result, their studio albums have often showed only the band’s restrained side. One can hear hints of their musical virtuosity in any of the grooves that surface here, but the cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightnin’” shows where the band is capable of going. The band doesn’t need to completely immerse itself in gritty guitar licks to get its point across. The mellow sway of “Beautiful” and the easeful flow of “Muhammad Ali” prove they can switch it up at will. Perhaps most appealing is how they so naturally fit the gait of the Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden,” as if it had been written specifically for them. “Back to the Garden” is more in line with their modern-hippie atmospherics, while “Happiness Is” tightens it up for a chance at pop radio with tight harmonies and a chorus designed to stick in your mind.

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