Rolling Stone Review

Rolling Stone

April 6, 1989

The Price of Progression
The Toll

If you still think Paul Shaffer’s Letterman-show combo is the world’s most dangerous band, then you have yet to check out this hazardous but undeniably interesting Columbus, Ohio, outfit.  Lead singer Brad Circone – a man who would have made Jim Morrison seem like a stable, unassuming frontman – turns the Toll’s shows into rock & roll collision courses, free-falling into the laps of his followers as he emotes in a growl vaguely reminiscent of Roger Daltrey.

The risks could get even bigger for the Toll as the crowds do.  And that’s likely to come to pass.  Half inspired and half utterly full of shit, The Price of Progression matches a Doors-like poetic pretentiousness with some cunning postpunk hooks.  The Toll’s secret weapon is guitarist Rick Silk, whose inspired playing distills the majestic subtlety of the Edge and the thrash attach of Joe Strummer.  Both “Word of Honor” and “Jazz Clown Clone” reveal a serious Clash influence – perhaps the band should call its next album Columbus Calling.  Much better is “Stand in Winter,” a terribly catchy, melodramatic number that could be the Toll’s “Sweet Child o’ Mine.”

The Toll is one strange band: not as good as it seems to think it is, and not nearly as awful as it logically ought to be.

- David Wild