Despite this tampering, it’s a very accessible album along the lines of his first three solo albums. However, Todd being a technophile, modern keyboards and effects dominate, where once a piano sufficed. At the time, these sounds were considered progressive, as were the video graphics used in the cover art. These days, such nuances make the album more dated than those first three solo albums. And that’s just the kind of attitude Todd hated.
After “All The Children Sing” is out of the way, the best songs on side one are true ear candy, especially the hit single “Can We Still Be Friends”, “Determination” and “Hurting For You”. “Onomatopoeia” is the token joke, a mercifully brief novelty of funny noises. Side two is the keeper, with arguably more substantial material. The social commentary of “Bread” and particularly “Bag Lady” takes a little patience, but “You Cried Wolf” is a direct cousin of “Wolfman Jack” that goes right to your toes and “Lucky Guy” is a welcome piano ballad.
We mentioned that he played all the instruments on Hermit Of Mink Hollow, which is easy to forget when everything sounds so full. His drums are competent as ever, and even the saxophone is used sparsely, while trademark background vocals and the occasional heavy guitar solo help propel it to success. From here, the line between his solo work and those credited to Utopia would only blur.
Todd Rundgren Hermit Of Mink Hollow (1978)—3