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Review: Toad the Wet Sprocket - Rock 'n' Roll Runners
Toad the Wet Sprocket
Rock 'n' Roll Runners

Label: High Roller Records
Year released: 2021
Duration: 1:08:07
Tracks: 17
Genre: Metal/Hard Rock


Review online: February 14, 2022
Reviewed by: MetalMike
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Rated 4/5 (80%) (4 Votes)

After being rejected as the name of the show that would be known as Monty Python’s Flying Circus and before being the name of an alt-rock band, Toad the Wet Sprocket was the name of a NWOBHM band out of Bedfordshire in the U.K. This is a band with a very spare official output (just two singles) and their name certainly gave little clue as to what kind of music they played (we’re not talking Blitzkrieg, Weapon or Holocaust here). Toad the Wet Sprocket was a hard rock band that began in the mid-70s and got swept up in the NWOBHM movement, temporarily changing their sound to match the heavier direction fans seemed to crave by the time 1979-80 rolled around. Cuts like "Rock ‘n Roll Runner" (which provides the title to this compilation) and "Big Deal" are typical riffy, galloping tracks with suitably catchy choruses that you might hear from a hundred other bands. When I listen to "One Glass of Whisky," I can’t help but hear Fly by Night-era Rush in the guitar work. Outside those songs there’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t really qualify as metal. "Baby" and "Pleasure and Pain" are pure hard rock, "Blues in A" (which somehow got on to the Metal for Muthas compilation) sounds like Lynyrd Skynyrd and "Feel It" and "Charlier" are jazzy enough in spots to be Steely Dan songs. I’d heard OF Toad the Wet Sprocket back in the day but this is my first time properly hearing their music and I can say there are a few decent NWOBHM tracks (often repeated courtesy of demo versions) but the rest is generic rock music that isn’t worth your time. Rock ‘n Roll Runner is for NWOBHM completists only.

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