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Album Review

Not only did Fear yield the Top 40 breakthrough hit "All I Want," but it also marked the emergence of a more refined Toad the Wet Sprocket. A far cry from their jangle pop, garage band sound of old, this album is full of smart and catchy pop/rock songs brought to life by four great musicians. Be it a tale of boyhood mischief ("Is It for Me") or a question of faith ("Pray Your Gods"), Glen Phillips shows himself to be one of the most literate and complex singer/songwriters around, layers of hidden subtext pouring from both his pen and voice. In fact, one of the finest lines ever found in a fare-thee-well song appears in "In My Ear": "Never meant half of the things that I said to you. So you know, there's a half that might be true." Enough said. The rest of the quartet — drummer Randy Guss, bassist/keyboardist Dean Dinning, and guitarist Todd Nichols — have merged together musically, defining what it really means to be a band. Their juxtaposition of accordions and mandolins against hard-hitting electric guitars amplifies the blend of ease and urgency that plays out from song to song, from the acoustic meandering of "Walk on the Ocean" to the aggressive commentary on rape in "Hold Her Down." The last tune, "I Will Not Take These Things for Granted," could have easily fallen into the abyss of cliché, but in Phillips' hands, it stands as a humble and poignant tribute to life's riches. With not a single weak song, wonderfully engaging performances, and amazing sonic precision, Fear is a wonderful welcome into the house of Toad.

Customer Reviews

An unexpected classic

Toad is a band that no-one will give you credit for liking. It's not one of those bands I'm supposed to like, like the Stooges, Velvet Underground, Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, and whatever trendy band of the moment Pitchfork likes but will hate in a year. And I actually like all of that stuff, very, very much. But when it comes to pop-rock music, nothing besides the Beatles and R.E.M. affects me like Toad the Wet Sprocket. They have a certain hard-to-explain spiritual quality to their music and are some of the best songwriters of the decade I grew up in..and no-one believes me. But if you listen to Windmills off of Dulcinea, All in All off In Light Syrup, or Something to Say, In My Ear, and Is It for Me off of this album, you'll get the best of Toad and hopefully pick up on how great their music really is.


Toad the Wet Sprocket is one of those bands that should be really well known (and loved), but isn't. Five stars!!

Awesome Album..

Toad the Wet say they are one of the least appreciated, underated bands of the 90's would be an understatement. Fear is Toad at their absolute best..not a weak or bad song in the whole lot. I loved every single song on the album, for me that's extremely rare.


Formed: 1986 in Santa Barbara, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Named in honor of a sketch by the Monty Python comedy troupe, Toad the Wet Sprocket became one of the most successful alternative rock bands of the early '90s, boasting a contemporary folk-pop sound that wielded enough melody and R.E.M.-styled jangle to straddle both the modern rock and adult contemporary markets. Singer Glen Phillips, guitarist Todd Nichols, bassist Dean Dinning (the nephew of '50s hitmaker Mark "Teen Angel" Dinning), and drummer Randy Guss formed the group in 1986 in their native...
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