August 01, 1994 12:00 PM

Toad the Wet Sprocket

Toad the Wet Sprocket may have culled its name from a Monty Python skit, but the band never seems to find much to chuckle about. That’s why eight tunes into Dulcinea, Toad’s typically melancholy sequel to 1991’s platinum Fear, “Nanci” provides such a jolt. For nearly three country-tinged minutes, Toad—sounding positively at home on the range—seems so glad all over you might swear they’ve been inhaling laughing gas. But don’t break out those party favors just yet. Subsequent songs like “Inside” and “Fall Down” offer little hope, only a generic hard-pop crunch and guitars that bark, while “Begin,” with all its elegiac splendor, makes misery sound almost infectious. Newcomers might wince at Toad’s on-the-sleeve angst, but diehard fans will smile along. (Columbia)

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