A lot has changed in the seven years since the Toadies released "Rubbernecker," the rape-and-religion-fixated platinum platter that spawned the hits "Away" and "Possum Kingdom." Since then, boy bands have flourished, electronica came and went, rap-rock stayed and the post-grunge that briefly ruled rock radio all disappeared. And so did the Toadies.
But finally, after teasing fans with the promise of a new record for almost two years now, out comes "Hell Below/Stars Above," their subtle yet still rape-and-religion-fixated follow-up. "Hell Below," a bare-bones effort at best, lacks "Rubberneck-er's" pop sensibility. The hooks are weak, the guitars mushy, and the songs are unremarkable. "You'll Come Down" and "Jigsaw Girl" stand out, but none of the tracks has the power of "Tyler," dooming the disc to a hitless existence.