Review Summary: Outrageous Band. 'Nuff Said.
Every music scene breeds bands, a great deal of them. In towns and cities, these movements of loud noise can only be described as concentrated chaos. Groups form, gigs crash, music prosperity happens. In the late 1980's, the Seattle scene began to wake. The combination of raw energy and record labels gave way to what many call "Grunge", a form of alternative rock associated with the early 1990's Seattle. Grunge gave way to several successful bands. Some attained instant success; immortality; others moderate success, and many simply enjoyed the ride. Tad, got a bit of each, and their gigs were the talk of the town.
Tad is fronted by big man Tad Doyle, who despite his size was always a constant threat of stage diving. This band turned up the guitars and the indecency louder than anyone else. With little time to waste, Tad released their debut album God's Balls
. Their debut captured their energy well but had sub-par production. Two years later, 1991, the Sub-Pop label is thriving and Tad releases 8-Way Santa
. Hampered by copyright infringements, nothing music related, Tad didn't take off as some might have predicted.
was a step forward for the band. Mainly because the song production improved. They also turned down the crudeness a tad from God's Balls
. Not quite sure if that's a good or bad thing. It did make the album more marketable though.
One thing that didn't change was Tad Doyle. I'm not talking about his weight mind you, I mean his lyrics. Doyle is known for his ridiculous lyrics, and the lyrics on 8-Way Santa
are no exception. "She yells, she's a drunken ninja" and "Trash truck, trash truck, get me outta here" are notable examples. At times these lyrics may draw a laugh, while other times they might be hard to decipher. Even when the words are clear, it's hard to attain any cognitive meaning from them. Doyle's lyrics are what they are. I can't really write much more about them. Some say he created fictional characters, which influenced his lyrics.
Doyle might be Tad's driving force, but he in no way hides the other band members. Well not musically, at least. In fact, 8-Way Santa's
best tracks are products of good guitar riffs and drum work. Much of the instrumentation on this album pushes the experimental envelope a bit. While it's nothing extreme, it definitely sets the band apart.
Thorstensen's guitar work on "Jinx" and "Delinquent" are some of Tad's best. They are both heavy as hell. "Jinx" changes momentum well and "Delinquent" has a catchy outro. Meanwhile, Steve Wied's drumming is exceptional on most of 8-Way Santa's
tracks. "Trash Truck" is a prime example. The drumming really plays off the guitars nice. The steadiness on "Flame Tavern" is also impressive. Doyle's clean vocals, makes this one of Tad's easier songs to listen.
The heaviness of "Giant Killer" is the epitome of a Tad track, where everything comes together. It opens with a groovy noise, with verse riffs you would expect to hear on a White Zombie track. It also features Doyle's gnarled vocals and asinine lyrics. It's no doubt a great song. Another highlight track is the Dinosaur Jr.-esque "3-D Witch Hunt". It has nice bass line and one of the few guitar solos here on 8-Way Santa
"Hedge Hog" is just plain strange. It's only a segment track though. It consists of the rambling of a woman scolding someone with a voice over of Doyle describing something he did. I didn't make it sound vague on purpose, that's just what all one could manage to get out of it. Other tracks that completely missed the target include "Jack Pepsi", "Crane's Cafe", and "Stumblin' Man". These songs more or less fall of the rails, and with the instrumentation not quite there, they just seem too ludicrous listen to half the time.
While 8-Way Santa
doesn't reach the likes of Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger
or Nirvana's In Utero
, it is still far from being a horrible album. Indeed, this CD is fresh. Full of unique style. This CD bears a reminder of why Tad was once regarded as the biggest band in Seattle.
- Giant Killer, Trash Truck, Delinquent, 3-D Witch Hunt