Review Summary: The best grunge album you've never heard.
I am as qualified as anyone to sardonically whine about how Tad got screwed over hard in the 90’s because there was a long period of time where I ate, slept, sh*t, stole, and metaphorically f*cked grunge music. I bought Pearl Jam’s “Ten” 4 times because it kept getting ripped off, almost killed myself riding my bike to the store to cop “Nevermind” after the first time I heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the radio, ripped off “Facelift” from my buddy’s older brother, still think Sebastian Bach’s review of “Superunknown” in RIP magazine (yes even RIP was grunge back then) is one of the best reviews ever, had about 11 flannel shirts, and told anyone who would listen that Screaming Tree’s “Sweet Oblivion” was the most underrated album of the decade. And yet I didn’t have a clue who Tad was. In an era where anyone with a flannel, an out-of-tune guitar, horrendous halitosis from imbibing too much coffee and feasting on self-loathing while brandishing a soul-destroying case of manic depression could go platinum, it’s simply astounding that one of the genre’s first acts and arguably one of its best couldn’t sniff success.
To this day I can’t really tell you about Tad’s discography. What I can tell you is that “Inhaler” is a Goddamn beast of an album that in a fair world would’ve went triple platinum and at least made Tad Doyle as famous as the dudes in Screaming Trees and Mudhoney, or been the subject of moronic snarky commentary on Beavis and Butthead. Produced by J Mascis (you can actually tell, it has a bit of a Dinosaur Jr. vibe underneath the crushing onslaught of grunge saturated riffage), “Inhaler” is a cornerstone of the era. The album is about riffs first and foremost, and it’s probably the most metal grunge album this side of “Facelift.” What makes their anonymity even more perplexing however is the fact “Inhaler” is loaded with melodic refrains and ferociously catchy choruses. “Throat Locust” should be mentioned in the same breath as the “Man in the Boxes” and “Outshined’s” and “Come as You Are’s” of the world; in short, it should be known as a grunge classic. Opener “Grease Box” isn’t far behind, although the publicity piece it got for running during the closing credits of a sh*tty Ed Furlong movie doesn’t really add up to a hill of beans these days. From the monstrous “Lycanthrope” to the simmering “Leafy Incline,” “Inhaler” brings it hard, cementing its status as the greatest grunge record you’ve never heard of.
In the end what actually really killed Tad was the colossally moronic idealism that has been decaying and destroying America for the last 20 years: political correctness. Their record company dropped them while they were touring for “Inhaler” because a promo poster came out with a picture of Slick Willie Clinton taking a toke and saying “it’s heavy sh*t, man.” Doesn’t really seem like a good reason to me, and it’s only one more reason to hate the ugly-intern-banging Arkansas inbred. Regardless of the fact that Tad Doyle should be really pissed off for missing out on the gold rush, we should preserve the memory of Tad through what they would have wanted. Riffs and fists.