In L.A. 1993 Emerson Hart, Jeff Russo, Dan Rothchild, and Kevin Shepard formed post-grunge band Tonic. They signed to Atlas records in 1995 and immediatley hit the studios to work on debut album Lemon Parade
They would produce two singles from this album. In 1996, “Open Up Your Eyes” and in 1997, “If You Could Only See” which was very successful, and was the most played song on rock radio stations during 1997.
Since the release of Lemon Parade
Tonic has had a line up change, Dan Lavery replaced Dan Rothchild as bass in 1998. Also during 1998 Tonic produced out of print EP Live and Enhanced
, and recorded tracks for The X-Files
soundtrack and Clay Pigeons
soundtrack. In 1999 Tonic produced sophmore record Sugar
which had singles “Knock Down Walls” and “You Wanted More” however Kevin Shepard left the band during the making of Sugar
. Peter Maloney would fill in for the album, however Joey Waronker (Beck, Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M) would fill in for “You Wanted More”
In 2002 Tonic made their third and last record to date Head On Staright
with help again from Joey Waronker, where single “Take Me As I Am” was nominated for a grammy. However in 2004 Tonic decided to take a break and focus on solo careers. Although they are still a band.
For Lemon Parade Tonic was
Emerson Hart-Vocals, Guitar
Jeff Russo-Backing Vocals, Lead Guitar
The opening track is the first single from the album “ Open Up Your Eyes”. A great choice for a single. The song has a great instrumental break about two minutes in which last for about 45 seconds. The reverts back to the chorus. “Casual Affair” Opens up with such intensity that it immediately grabs you in and doesn’t let go. Harts raspy voice just adds to the song, and lyrics about violence helps him hang on make this track a winner.
“If You Could Only See” Was the most played song on Rock Stations during 1997 and it is no wonder why, it is a tremendous track full of emotion and heart. Hart pours his soul into his singing with lyrics of rationalizing why he is leaving a faltering relationship for the hopes of a new one with another woman. My favorite track on the album, even though it was a single, and a played out single at that. “Soldiers daughter” has a beautiful opening with about 40 seconds of soft guitar sturms and then Hart sings about someone who is there for this hurting little girl, to dance and to keep dancing because their isn’t enough time in her life not to. Beautiful song prolly my second favorite on the album.
The title track for this review starts of soft, Hart sings about loving a hurt and defensive girl, telling people to make way for the lemon parade and make way for my girl. A solid track. “Mountain” has another long intro with just a solo guitar for about 45 seconds. Very good lyrics about a man giving into his temptation to the lust of a woman. “Thick” has a nice change of pace from previous tracks, however the strained vocals immediately turn me off from this track. I love the lyrics, “My love sleeps with broken faces inside. Cold water runs deep when she sleeps with broken faces inside”
“Wicked Soilder” has a nice pick up on pace from the previous track. I like the music on this track because it is not slow and drawn out, however the lyrics are too repetitive and take away from the song, but the chorus is quite catchy. “Mr.Golden Deal” has Tonic returning to the soft ballad type sound. The extremely soft sound to this track make it standout. The chorus opens up and has a very elegant sound to it. The lyrics are symbolizing the ocean to a woman that has left a man and the man is asking the other man how does she feel, the track was very well written.
“Bigot Sunshine” has an awesome sound that immediately grabbed my attention. However it seems to me it is just a filler track and is really nothing special. “Celtic Aggression” is a pretty decent track about coming from Ireland to America wiping out the Indians culture. Pretty historic song it even has a foreign language in it! Overall it was an ok track.
“My Old Man” is the closing song to this slightly above average album. A song about reminicing a childhood with a father that doesn’t come through for his family. Overall the track was kinda weak and drawn out for my tatse. However Hart gives a lot of emotion singing towards the end of the song.
In Conclusion, Tonic’s debut record was slightly above average, the first half of the album is done very well, although the last couple of tracks weren’t entirely bad, they were just kinda dull. I love how the band is able to mixup the sound from grunge to ballad back and forth, keeping both styles fresh.
Final Rating 3 outta 5