Tonic, "Tonic"

Album Review

Eight years since the release of its last studio album, alternative rock trio Tonic returns with a folkier sound on its self-titled fourth album. The set has a brighter, rootsier feel than much of Tonic's past material, but the group's broody harmonic approach remains intact. Opener "Release Me" introduces measured dissonance to the upbeat acoustic guitars in a similar vein to "Come Rest Your Head" from 2002's "Head On Straight." Despite erring on the side of acoustic and clean tones this time around, the album still brings plenty of energy, balancing ballads like "Nothing Is Everything" with such uptempo roots-rock tracks as "Feel It Now." Tonic gets bluesy on "Send a Message" and brings a country-rock quality with stacked harmonies and lap steel on "Daffodil." With a decidedly less grungy sound than its 1996 debut, "Lemon Parade," the group has come a long way in becoming the formidable folk-rock outfit unveiled on "Tonic." --Connor McKnight