released May 4th, 2010

from the album - Nothing Is Everything

from all music

Vocalist/guitarist Emerson Hart formed the alternative/roots band Tonic in 1993 with guitarist Jeff Russo (a childhood friend), bassist Dan Rothchild, and drummer Kevin Shepard. After gigging around Los Angeles, the foursome signed with A&M Records. For the recording of their debut album, producer Jack Joseph Puig (Jellyfish, the Black Crowes) gave Tonic a decidedly rootsy feel, with the addition of lap steel and mandolin. The album, titled Lemon Parade, was released in July 1996. After replacing the departed Rothchild with Dan Lavery, the band contributed to soundtracks including Scream 2, The X Files, and Clay Pigeons before returning in 1999 with Sugar. Three years later, Tonic returned with Head On Straight. "Take Me As I Am" was a smash hit on modern rock radio; however, Tonic's shining moment came in early 2003 when they received two Grammy nominations one for Best Rock Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocal for "Take Me As I Am" and Best Rock Album.

album review

Eight years after Tonic faded into the sunset as lead singer Emerson Hart took a flier on a solo career, the band has reunited and belatedly released their fourth album, and the set, simply titled Tonic, sounds like the work of a band picking up right where they left off in 2002. Tonic's hard rock influences seem to have been dialed back a notch or two, but Jeff Russo's lead guitar still brings forth an arena-ready crunch on "Bigger Than Both," "I Want It to Be," and "Torn to Pieces," and the melodies still reach for a Grand Emotional Gesture as they lock in on a radio-ready hook (or at least what was a radio-ready hook in the late '90s). Even though they're recording for an indie label these days and original drummer Kevin Shepard has been replaced by Pete Maloney, Tonic seem to have been changed remarkably little by the passage of time, which given the circumstances, is a braver move than it might seem radio is far less likely to embrace this sort of archetypically post-grunge music than they were in 1996 when "If You Could Only See" topped the charts, and while loyal fans will doubtless be pleased with this album, it's anyone's guess how many are still out there given Tonic's eight-year intermission. Thankfully, Tonic doesn't sound like the work of a band struggling to re-create their past success, and instead finds them confidently embracing their signature sound and doing what they do with a sure hand and genuine inspiration. Emerson's vocals are as effective as ever, the songs (written by Hart, Russo, and bassist Dan Lavery) capably play to the group's strengths, and Nathaniel Kunkel's production gracefully fuses the melodic and electric sides of their music. Tonic is less a comeback than an enthusiastic return to form, and anyone who enjoyed their first three albums will feel comfortably at home with this music.

Track Listing

1 Release Me Lavery 3:22
2 Daffodil Lavery 3:21
3 I Want It to Be Lavery 3:43
4 Send a Message Lavery 3:28
5 Bigger Than Both Lavery 4:10
6 Nothing Is Everything Lavery 4:27
7 Feel It Now Lavery 3:03
8 Where Do I Fit Lavery 3:09
9 Resolve Lavery 4:21
10 Precious Little Bird Lavery 2:51
11 Torn to Pieces Lavery 2:44
12 She Goes Down Lavery 3:46