Dulcinea by Toad the Wet Sprocket – available via Freegal to LTPL patrons
By Brian Johnston
I’ve always felt that Toad the Wet Sprocket was a criminally underrated band when we’re talking about rock bands from the 1990s. It may at least partly be because some people think they have a strange name. Nonetheless, they put out some beautiful music, and their fourth studio album, Dulcinea, might be their crowning achievement.
Dulcinea came out in 1994 and is the follow-up to the 1991 album fear, which was the band’s commercial breakthrough. Though fear is a great album, the band was still a little raw at that time and had a few songs that were a little rough around the edges. They really polished it up three years later with Dulcinea.
The album is filled with beautiful songs, some of which deal with heavy topics such as death and the afterlife and the constant pursuit of things we cannot obtain. “Something’s Always Wrong” is probably the biggest hit from the album; it’s a somewhat dark song yet it’s also hauntingly beautiful. “Fly From Heaven” and “Fall Down” were also hits, and these were a little more upbeat. They’re good songs, but not in the same category as “Something’s Always Wrong” in my opinion.
Though the album, overall, is a little lighter in terms of sound than fear and their more hard rock album COIL from 1997, I think the band is at their best on Dulcinea when they get more outwardly emotional. To that end, two underrated tracks on this album are “Woodburning” and “Listen.” Songs like “Crowing” and “Windmills” which are a little lighter are still good, but I really like to see that emotion come through in the former songs mentioned above.
I think Dulcinea is an album that will appeal to fans of lots of different kinds of rock music. If you haven’t listened to Toad the Wet Sprocket, give them – and this album – a try.