From the platform of success built by Fear, Toad the Wet Sprocket dove head first into their fourth release, Dulcinea. Without changing the formula too much, they conjured up 12 more hooks, stretching them ever so slightly to make the alternative tunes a bit edgier and the mellow ones a little folkier, and scoring a couple of modest hits along the way with "Something's Always Wrong" and "Fall Down." One of the thematic threads of Toad's music has always been a certain spirituality, a sense of awe and wonder in regard to life and death. Dulcinea exploits and explores that theme with reverence and humility, going so far as to close the album with "Reincarnation Song," a delicate examination of a soul's transition shrouded musically by a veil of electric guitar feedback. Counteracting that heaviness with an offbeat, country-tinged ditty about the pros of Nanci Griffith versus Loretta Lynn is pure Toad, never being pinned into a stylistic corner. One of the best songs on this album, and perhaps their entire catalog, is "Windmills," a moody look at the fragility and futility of existence that will cause not only the exquisite melody to linger with you, but contemplations of your own purpose in life. Framed by the flawless production of Gavin MacKillop, every song on this record creates a world of its own that is impossible not to be drawn into.
AllMusic Review by Kelly McCartney