Toadstool - Self-Titled EP (2010)
Self-Released -- Running Time 20:11
Gloucestershire, UK based Toadstool are another of the bands that I was introduced to for the first time on my recent festival trip for Brutiful and they very kindly gave me both of their EP's to listen to. First up is their debut from 2010 and if you like a good dose of very early Rush mixed with a smattering of Led Zep all played with huge amounts of energy and enthusiasm then Toadstool will be for you!
The EP opens with the fantastic 'Pigzilla' and such is its immediate catchiness and charm, it is safe to suggest it has already become a live favourite and anthem for Toadstool. It has an incredibly simple but hugely enjoyable riff and tempo which gets your foot tapping immediately. With such a great opener you might be concerned that they cannot continue with the quality, but you would be incorrect. Next track 'Hands Of Time' is where the early Rush influences really kick in. Vocalist/bassist Alex Macaskill sounds very much like a mix of Geddy Lee and Marc Bolan. I think I can say that any of the five tracks here would sit fairly comfortably next to material from the first Rush album, indeed the intro to final track 'The Water Witch' can be placed exactly over the intro of Rush's 'Finding My Way' from that very album without it being a copy!
Joining Macaskill on this EP are Nick Ingram (lead), Jack Porteous (rhythm) and Dave Meadows (drums) and they all put in very good and solid performances. They play with a freedom, groove and live feel missing from many younger bands who often rely too much on triggers and corrective software in the studio. It's nice to hear that and even though Toadstool do add their own musical flavour to proceedings and this is a well produced CD (courtesy of Chris Maguire at Screamadelica Studios In Cardiff) it still takes me back to my younger years when things weren't perhaps quite so polished as they are nowadays.
Since both of their EP's were released Toadstool have trimmed down to a three piece and have a newly recruited drummer and that is the lineup I saw gig recently. I'm pleased to say, when comparing that performance to this CD, there is very little, if any, difference in the quality of their sound. Of course we are three years on from this EP and the constant gigging has obviously helped in that respect. Toadstool are a young and gifted band. This was a very assured debut, well beyond their years. I'll be reviewing their second EP 'The Visitors' next and I very much look forward to the debut album which will hopefully see the light of day in 2014!
Toadstool get things back on track in fine style. The three-piece lay down slabs of awesome from last year's EP, 'The Visitors', including the great title track ("about ghosts!"), but also find time to play the epic 'Sector 42', a song about outer space that the band themselves deem "not quite Hawkwind." Toadstool have 'Something To Prove', another top tune from that last extended player, and turn in one of the day's finest performances. Cool band.
- Gaz E üBer Rock review Hard n Heavy Fest 5 Abertillery, The Doll's House
"These guys have a pure sound that never tires! The guitar riffs, the vocal range and the constant adrenaline that flows through their music is infectious! If you haven't listened to any new bands this month yet, check out Toadstool - you will NOT be disappointed!"
- DJ Ebony B, phoenixradio.co.uk
"There is something gloriously authentic about Toadstool ... what they have achieved here requires great talent: to distil 40 odd years of heavy rock, factoring in influences such as the omnipresent Led Zeppelin, and produce an original sound and original songs”
– Stephen Morris, BBC Gloucestershire
"I was blown away when I heard Toadstools track 'Pigzilla' for the first time, such a combination of The Seahorses melodies, Black Stone Cherry guitar riffs and bridging that gap between southern rock, blues and metal - absolutely love it!"
- Emma Bardill, Quite Great PR
"Gaffer tape down your tables, speakers and daughters for that matter! Toadstool came and rocked the house with a blistering set of original material and class covers"
- Mario Constantinides, Director PVM Promotions
“High on energy and higher on vocals ... Toadstool hark back to an age when the most important thing in music was to enjoy yourself”
– The Forester Newspaper
"Squeezing some bite size chunks of eighties arena rock into a nice tight NWOBHM image I for one will be looking out for the boys from Lydney in the year to come."
– Uber Rock
“Rock as it should be, big and in your face!”
– Caldicot Festival Organisers