Big Head Todd & the Monsters

Rocksteady

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AllMusic Review by

Don’t be threatened by the cover of Howlin’ Wolf's “Smokestack Lightning” on Rocksteady: Big Head Todd & the Monsters have not abandoned their laid-back roots rock and gone all dirty blues, they’re continuing to take things nice and easy. To put too fine a point on it, their rock remains steady, offering few surprises, but their light touch is often ingratiating. Sure, when they stretch they can stumble slightly -- it’s unclear what the intent of “Muhammad Ali” is, the reggae-influenced numbers smack too much of a dorm room singalong, and every once and a while a ballad drags -- but they have a way with rootsy midtempo pop, like the sweet “Beautiful,” they’re served well by the soulful horn of “I Hate It When You’re Gone,” they do an admirable, pleading version of “Beast of Burden” and, yes, the dose of heavier blues on “Smokestack Lightning” serves them well enough to suggest that they should let a little more grit into their smooth surroundings next time around.

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