When people talk about the glory years of alternative music, most of the bands that get mentioned are from the alternative rock, Brit-rock or grunge strain — Pearl Jam, Oasis, Soundgarden, Nirvana. But the alternative pop bands who came in a shade before these guys made quite the impact on the Generation X music scene too; Toad the Wet Sprocket was among the most notable.
Their first hit single, 1992’s “All I Want,” is one of those classic alt-pop songs that featured heavy doses of acoustic guitars (a tactic that bands like Goo Goo Dolls would use to great effect in the years that followed), and “Walk on the Ocean” was somewhere between a power ballad — with singer-guitarist Glen Phillips’ thin vocals occasionally heading for the upper register — and a precursor to Hootie & the Blowfish’s “Hold My Hand.” But the band broke out with 1994’s “Fall Down,” which topped Billboard’s Modern Rock chart for six weeks and became their signature song.
After a 1998 hiatus, they started playing sporadically again in 2006 and fully reunited in 2010. The band released a greatest hits record in 2011, called All You Want, but they didn’t stop there. In October, they released their first new studio album since 1997’s Coil, called New Constellation. The title track and first single is an ebullient piece of piano power pop that encapsulates the album’s sunny, upbeat feel. Despite the band naming themselves after an obscure Monty Python skit as a joke over 25 years ago, they clearly are nowhere near obscurity.
Toad the Wet Sprocket plays with Jonathan Kingham 8 pm Monday, Feb. 3, at WOW Hall; $25 adv., $30 door.