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25% Toby – Live At The BPL’s

Before you even pop this CD in your player, take a look on the back and inside of the CD cover. You’ll see a flurry of bodies in motion, most likely taken in the recording studio given the CD’s title. A picture tells a thousand words, or in the case of 25% Toby, a thousand notes, pops, pulled calf muscles and blurred vision as this swanky foursome goes balls out to the rock wall. This sparkling bounty of music seems to be the Mr. Hyde to the Dr. Jekyl flowery niceness of Polyphonic Spree, where founder and head sway king Toby Halbrooks spends his time at his day job.


Tinges of The Pretenders raw wired prowess, Stray Cats Billy-rock ala the Texas highway, Kinks sugar smack-your-ass pop, and a reincarnation of ’70s punk meets the Turtles after a mushroom trip is at best, the long-winded attempt at a description.

At that’s only two tracks in. There are many more Sybil personalities to discover as you make your way through Live At The BPL’s, including a girly girl who skips through the daisies in a flowery dress on her way to therapy.

Short and sweet seems to be the mantra, with some songs only lasting only 40 to 55 seconds. Less is more in this chaotic scenario, and they’re able to sing and say a lot by getting to the point, as with ” Kill Yourself.” This peanuts on the floor, sing-along piano ditty asks, “So it turns out that life you led/Really wasn’t worth a shit/And all those people that you thought you knew/They don’t give a fuck about you/You’ve got to kill yourself.”

One of my favorites requires a bit of patience. The “hidden” 15th track is a song letter to the rock legends, “Dear Metallica/Why do you have to be so mean?/What are you doing to me?/My brother used to be cool/Used to do good in school/Then he bought your album Appetite for Destruction/Now he spits on the carpet/And calls me an asshole.”

25% Toby let’s us all know that in today’s serious and stressful society, you need to have an outlet—to say whatever the hell you want, be politically incorrect, and let loose of your girdle to pay homage to what rock ‘n’ roll was meant to be—fun, loud and crazy.


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