Produced by metal guru Bob Rock, Tonic's heavy-handed Head on Straight takes dead aim at arena rock circa 2002 via strong melodies, big choruses, thick, domineering guitars, and a solid backbeat. Singer Emerson Hart proudly wears a broken heart on his tattered sleeve, especially on anthemic cuts such as "Take Me As I Am," "Do You Know," and "Believe Me," all of which showcase his expansive range and captivating emotive style evocative of Bono, Michael Hutchence, and Eddie Vedder. Guitarist Jeff Russo's pentatonic riffs, shimmering harmonics, and engaging arpeggios provide a perfect canvas for Hart's bellow and bassist Dan Lavery's funky staccato lines. Waxing political in "Irish" ("I won't die for England") and working out a blues mojo in "Rest Your Head," Tonic exudes confidence and conviction on a grand collection sans filler.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Semioli