Hidden Shoal Recordings 
Fire Note Says: Todd Tobias unleashes a batch of instrumental soundscapes on his intriguing debut Medicine Show.
Welcome into the world of music manipulator, producer and long-time Robert Pollard collaborator Todd Tobias. Medicine Show is his solo debut of 16 instrumental tracks that will be very familiar and exciting to all the Circus Devils fans out there, perplexing to non-believers and absolutely intriguing for everyone else that gives this record a chance.
Right from the beginning you should understand that the instrumental offerings on Medicine Show are not perfect for date night or just hanging out by the fire but work better when you turn them up, drink some beer and simply absorb all of their odd and spectacular nuances. Circus Devils fans will easily recognize the territory on Medicine Show but it is interesting how these songs take a different life of their own without the driving force of Pollard's vocals delivering them. The album is a true testament to the individual talent of Tobias as it puts his skill sets on full display.
Medicine Show has the vibe of an intense book that you can't put down and contains new surprises around every corner. There are spaced out tracks like "Manatoc Is Born" which float along like a piece out of Close Encounters until the almost scary animal like noises abruptly interrupt the flow giving it one of the more unique listens on the record. The heavy beat clap along rhythm in "The Children Follow" is instantly addicting and will have you penning your own lyrics to the catchy track while the short stand up tall march of "Asmodaeus And The Unlucky Traveler" will quickly make you take notice. These little pieces keep Medicine Show vibrant while other songs such as the rocking "Clubfoot's Return" posses an intensity that shake your speakers.
Clearly, Medicine Show is not your typical instrumental record as Todd Tobias presents a solid piece of work that relies heavily on a cool murky groove, has plenty of time and space manipulation and builds a new age sound for a different generation. If you want original - Medicine Show is for you; if you want an instrumental record to crank next time you shoot some pool - Medicine Show is for you; if you dig the Circus Devils - Medicine Show is for you too; if you want an instrumental record to play for your girlfriend - I heard Yanni just released a new live record!
Key Tracks: "The Children Follow", "Manatoc Enters The City / The Long Fall", "Asmodaeus And The Unlucky Traveler"
Bands With Similar Fire:
Circus Devils: CAPSIZED! [Fire Note Review 10/20/11] [#44 Top 50 of 2011]
Circus Devils: Mother Skinny [Fire Note Review 3/25/10]
Circus Devils: A Riot Of Gold Teeth 2001-2010 [Fire Note Review 3/5/10]
Circus Devils: Gringo [Fire Note Review 4/7/09]
Circus Devils: ATAXIA [Fire Note Review 9/24/08]
Circus Devils: Sgt. Disco [Fire Note Review 9/17/07]
Todd Tobias Website
Hidden Shoal Recordings
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony