Toenut's second LP goes off the deep end by writing even more quirks into the already quirk-filled songbooks of the Pixies and Devo. For every relatively normal song, like the earnest "Giant Steps," there are three like "Test Anxiety," a nervous, strung-out cousin to Nada Surf's "Popular": Katie Walters sings an angular, nasal chorus and guitarist Skipper Hartley intones instructions from a very weird self-help manual while the rest of the band gallops beneath them like the losers in a three-legged race. Then, on "Mr. Cockly Puppance, Esq.," Walters seems to be singing about dismembering someone, and on the chorus her voice gets so high it almost seems unreal. Walters' dog-whistle voice is one of Toenut's most distinctive features, and when she's squealing with the trebly guitars and thin-sounding drums Toenut almost sounds like a more normal band on helium. The group never seems like a novelty act, however, because their songs are intricate and their melodies are strong. Toenut promises plenty of fun for those who like their punk rock on the weird side.
Two In the Pinata Review
by Charlie Wilmoth