Wishing Like a Mountain and Thinking Like the Sea was a breakthrough album for Poi Dog Pondering, as AOR and college radio stations around the country began to discover the zany, eclectic, outdoor-summer jam-session sound of the Chicago-based band. The airtight hooks of songs like "Bury Me Deep," "Everybody's Trying," and "Thanksgiving" were catchy and radio-ready, while the goofy charm of tracks like "The Watermelon Song," "Big Beautiful Spoon," and "Spending the Day in the Shirt That You Wore" made the album a favorite with quirk-rock devotees. And on every track, the band's globetrotting instrumental inventiveness was infectious and impressive. Lead singer Frank Orrall played a mind-bogglingly wide array of instruments on the record, from guitar and piano to frying pan and "bicycle with playing cards." The drums and percussion by Dick Ross and John Nelson helped to create a world music vibe that outdid Rusted Root at their own game before that world/jam band hit the scene, and the band's dynamic use of Susan Voelz's string performances (on Italian classical violin and octave violin) seems to anticipate another later jam rock sensation, Dave Matthews Band. Wishing Like a Mountain is an irresistible party of an album.
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AllMusic Review by Evan Cater