Black Beehive

Big Head Todd & The Monsters

Shout Factory! Records, 2014

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Like many people, I'm fully aware of who Big Head Todd & The Monsters is; I can recall their radio hits from the mid '90s, but haven't kept up much with any of their recent work. In fact, I wasn't even sure of how active the band currently is. Turns out, since their platinum selling 1993 album Sister Sweetly, these Colorado rockers have been extremely prolific, only taking two to three years between the release of albums.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

These days, Big Head Todd is more in tune with their roots rock and blues sensibilities, which are the overwhelming sounds on this tenth album. It opens with the funk spirited “Hey Delila,” which is a tribute to the blues singer Memphis Minnie. Following this is, of all things, a driving rock tune dedicated to NASA called “Everything About You.” The band finds their groove on the bluesy, riff heavy “Seven State Lines” before moving into a more gentle direction with the soothing, contemplative “Josephina.”

This is undoubtedly a very personal feeling album that was inspired by the passing of Amy Winehouse, as evidenced by the title track. It is a tribute to the songstress and lyrically nails Winehouse's short-lived legacy. Fittingly, the tune moves with a turbulent feeling and encompasses a timeless beauty akin to Winehouse's work. The loudest song comes after the soft Winehouse memorial, with the thumping, stadium rock feel of “We Won't Go Back;” however, the calmer waters finish the album.

The final two songs are nothing short of perfection. “Travelin' Light” adds harmonicas to make an already warm Americana song that much more delicate, and the album concludes on the folk song “Forever Bonnie.” An acoustic closer, it's as heartbreaking as the storyline and an ideal way to end a heartfelt album.

It's very apparent Big Head Todd & The Monsters puts a tremendous amount of thought into each track here. There is absolutely no filler, as each song succeeds in finding a unique spot to reside across bluesy, soulful, sincere rock 'n' roll. While they may never see the commercial success of the '90s, these guys just keep getting better with age and thankfully seem unconcerned with how the mainstream interprets their work.

Rating: A-

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© 2014 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Shout Factory! Records, and is used for informational purposes only.