Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Toast - The Mad Science

The Mad Science

The Mad Science is the first full length studio album for progressive fusion band Toast. Hailing from El Paso, Toast relocated to Austin in an attempt to expand its fan base and venue prospects. Consisting of James Pate on vocals, guitar and samples, Vincenzo Loechel on vocals and drums, and Russell Dobda on vocals, keyboards, and saxophone, Toast is notable for live improvisational performances. Guest musicians on the album are John Brown on bass and mandolin, Leah Zeger on violin, Tony Alexander on tenor saxophone, and Lea Dobda on trumpet. Appropriately, Toast is very similar and evocative of Los Angeles based jam band Particle.

The album is an experimental journey encompassing a multitude of schizophrenic tempo changes, unbridled improvisations and themes including politics and philosophy. The first track entitled “Twilight Mischief,” is a hushed instrumental jam charged with Afro-beat rhythms and sporadic guitar riffs. The almost seven-minute track allows the listener’s brain to wander through a world of melodic jazz progressions and unsullied rhythm. The third track, “FroSho,” begins with former president George W. Bush stating that the economy is in the “midst of a major financial crisis.” A prevalent theme included on the track points blame on Wall Street for the financial collapse. Impetuous squalls of saxophone, busy percussion, whirling keyboards and vertiginous guitar digressions echo throughout this blame game of a track.

“The Dub,” embraces a world feel with its reggae influenced riffs and ambient guitar which dabbles and drifts into a funnel of drone effects. The track’s foundation is titular to the title of the song in that “dub” is a form of re-mixed reggae music. “The Joker” is a quick paced string ditty that differs from any other tracks on the album exemplifying the fact that Toast embraces a maniac diversity. The Mad Science is a conglomeration of rigorous talent, psychedelic euphoria and jam-tastic funk.

The album’s cover art is a myriad of layered guitars, flowers and trees atop of what appears to be surgeon dressed in a suit holding a martini glass or upside down Erlenmeyer flask. The light colors are almost translucent and create the layered effect. The foldout portion of leaflet includes the lyrics of several of the songs.