“Toogoodoo” Is the Millennial Working Man’s Opus


Zach Green, Website Editor

Stop Light Observations have been hometown heroes for a while now. It seems like everyone at Wando has their own SLO story — “I was there for their first concert,” “I went up to see them at Bonnaroo that one year,” “my dentist’s daughter is the girlfriend of their lead singer,” etc.


They’ve obviously got quite the local fanbase. However, is “Toogoodoo” the album that’s gonna bring them to the next level?


This is their first batch of material that they haven’t been toying with since walking the halls of Wando, and its just as refreshing as you want it to be. As the story goes, the boys hauled a bunch of recording equipment to songwriter John-Keith Culbreth’s family’s plantation house on the Toogoodoo River. There, they wrote and recorded all twelve tracks featured on this sophomore LP.


The core songwriting here is as strong and mature as anything the band has ever offered. The previously featured singles “Dinosaur Bones” and “Security” add more mellow inflections to SLO’s signature psych-jam sound. “Aquarius Apocalyptic” is an excellent spiritual continuation of the abrasive, off-the-rails fan-favorite “Purple People.”


“Toogoodoo” also roots deeper into the blues-rock sound that SLO has been flirting with for a while now. The boot-stompin’ “Leroy” sounds like a Johnny Cash song filtered through SLO’s dynamic jam style. For that matter, the latter half of the album sounds like facets of the “Duke of Hazard” soundtrack were injected with synthesizers.


Yes, all the songs individually are great. However, I was off-put at first by their sequencing – why put a head-bangin’ jam like “Idle Hands” between two subdued, sentimental songs? After multiple listens, I realized that SLO knew exactly what they were doing — “Toogoodoo” tells the stories of a day in the life of a blue collar worker in 2016.


With that in mind, everything falls into place. Like previous subjects of blues-rock music (Led Zeppelin, anybody?) this prototypical worker has had it with the monotony of their cyclical lifestyle. However, today they’re also filled with fear of terrorists in the media, uncertain of America’s future, etc.


This music contains the solace we all seek beyond those built-up thoughts and feelings throughout the day. They come when we are forced to take a moment in our hectic lives to reflect — these are our stop light observations, if you will.


At its best, “Toogoodoo” is a remedy to that shared anxiety. We can only hope that our national indie music market recognizes that too. Besides, who in our country today couldn’t benefit from a stop light observation or two?