There's plenty to relate to on Toby Foster's new album. For instance: Wishing we were younger and freer and healthier. Making promises to ourselves to live better, and then breaking them. 100 Ways is an album that sports all the hooks, shiny guitar riffs, welling pop-punk choruses and crisp drum beats necessary to deliver a sense of giddy melodrama.
For those of us not still in college or in our 20s, 100 Ways is more nostalgic than immediate, especially since it evokes, just a little bit, bands like Jawbreaker and, if you were around in 1990s Missoula, the Oblio Joes. Foster, from Indiana, mines the manic rootlessness that people feel after they leave home and set foot in the "real world" (though let's be real: Restlessness isn't just for the young).
"Hands" and "The Settling" are both pop-perfect anthems, and "Restless, Tired, Uneasy," is a good example of the way Foster captures youthful middle-class American angst with compassion and jabbing humor.
"I'm feeling sentimental for lost T-shirts, certain hand soaps and math homework," he sings. It sounds silly on the surface, but Foster's sentiments are also about memory and time and the other ephemera that keep us awake at night.
Toby Foster plays the ZACC Below Fri., July 7, at 7 PM.