ALBUM: Good ARTIST: Toehider What do Queen and Dr. Seuss have in common? Wonder no longer, the answer is wrapped up in a buoyantly theatrical package titled 'Good', the brand new album from Melbourne's Toehider due out this week.
Led by singer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Mills, Toehider is quite possibly one of the most refreshing, innovative and hard-working prog rock acts in town right now - having already toured alongside the likes of Devin Townsend, The Beards and Twelve Foot Ninja, 'Good' is the third album to be unleashed (and also chalks up an eye-watering eighteenth release overall in six years), and it's a whacky, dynamic affair that grasps your attention from start to finish.
'Good' opens with the title track, and immediately it's clear this is no ordinary album, with Mills embracing a Queen-meets-Disney vibe, and just a hint of Aussie twang. 'Funny Things' rolls next with a devilish Mr. Bungle-esque intro before the track erupts into a gritty Phantom of the Opera rager (and Queen-inspired harmonies on crack kicking in halfway through). 'The Conversation is Over' takes things down a notch, with some urgently cinematic riffs sprawling across clean melodic vocals. Halfway through, 'Millions of Musketeers' roars to life with some old-school metal oozing all over the place; epic riffs bust through the seams of this track, with some occasional growling spoken word amongst some moments that can only be described as "Ben Folds does Manowar".
Leading the charge into the second half is 'How Do Ghosts Work' (it's a fair question) - the theatrics are back, the beats are dressed to kill, and it's one of the more structured tracks on the album. There's a tasty amount of dirty swagger peeking through before a dark and rumbling outro gives way to the divine 'Dan Vs Egg', which relishes in its sparsely medieval melody and Mills throwing down some epic call-and-response to himself. It's a hugely emotional track, and the biggest juxtaposition to the rest of the album (perhaps a challenge for those not accustomed to such theatrics, but it's a stunning respite against the heavier tracks). Next up, 'I've Been So Happy Living Down Here in the Water' comes out of nowhere; a jazzy John Mayer-esque syncopated ditty that sets Mills and his vocals against an upbeat backdrop. Finger-picking guitar trails across the track over the snappy bassline, before leading into the final song "It's so Fikkis'. For the finale, the Queen harmonies are back and so are the heaving riffs and beats, but this time they've brought along some 80s and Latin vibes for the ride. There's plenty of metal overtones amid the dance-tastic syncopated beats, and the track rides out on a flurry of metal fusion and falsetto explosion - the perfect wrap-up to this anstonishing album.
Overall, 'Good' is a heavy, theatrical, constantly evolving beast that is complex yet somehow remarkably cohesive. Realistically this album should not work - seriously. But not only does it work, it downright wipes the floor with its rabid innovation and impressive technique (due in no small part to Mills and his otherwordly abilities). If you fancy treating yourself to a sonic whirlwind that's entertaining and at times indescribable, please do yourself a favour and check this album when it drops later this week. More info below.
*Epilepsy warning - the video below contains a bit of flashing imagery*
'Good' will be released on October 19th and can be pre-ordered here 'Invisible Enemy' and 'The Frost' are streaming now on Spotify, for more into head to:
BY TIANA SPETER