- by D R Pautsch Rating:7 Release Date:2016-11-04 Label: Sub Pop
Twenty Five years on from the peak of Grunge it's easy to forget the bands that were not Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. It's equally easy to forget what made Grunge such a big breath of fresh air. Eighties rock music, hard rock and metal music, was largely poodle hair, overblown excess and a lot of music that just became more and more false and alienating. Grunge blew that away. Largely owing more to punk than rock it felt fresh, vital and more importantly heartfelt. However, it also had its roots firmly in hard rock and the excesses of the eighties.
Never was that more apparent than with TAD. Sounding more like a traditional hard rock act they typified the Grunge look, mixed with the traditional look of a metal act. They hung out with Cobain and co and were the band that never quite made it big. 8 Way Santa was their second release and perhaps their most successful. Produced by Butch Vig, he of Nevermind fame. It was a hard rocking, yet tuneful album that appealed to the Grunge generation as well as the traditional rock approach.
This re-release comes with a swathe of demos and extra tracks, however it's the core album that is the main draw. Jinx was in the seminal Grunge film Singles, yet never appeared on the soundtrack. It's a heavy throwback sound that probably didn't quite fit with the new approach. Candi is a heavy, Soundgarden-esque riffing number that slowly churns into your brain. Wired God is the sound of Grunge turning into Nu-Metal. Simple, driving and ultimately a little groovy, it's possibly the most vital moment here.
8 Way Santa hasn't aged as well as some of its compatriot's albums. This is simply because it sounds of its time, a little dated and a little too much like the music Grunge was trying to escape from. It's worth re-discovering to hear the point where the influences that were abandoned and those that were maintained met. However, the flaws are there as well and that's possibly why TAD haven't had the legacy they perhaps deserve.