This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Chaste kids’ story or kinky sex fantasy: There are two ways you could interpret the title of the latest Crash Test Dummies album Puss ’N’ Boots. Guess which one deep-throated singer-songwriter Brad Roberts has in mind.
That’s right, boys and girls — Mr. Roberts wants to be your mack daddy. So, with eyebrow perpetually cocked and trademark basso profundo rumbling seductively in your ears, bad-boy Brad dims the lights, cues up the neo-soul grooves and strummy pop-rock, and proceeds to put the moves on you for much of this 45-minute offering.
“I know that you’ll see / Everything is better with me,” he suavely promises. “And I know that you’ll find / You can’t get me out of your mind.” Well, maybe so. Of course, such is not the case between Brad and his old bandmates; like 2001’s I Don’t Care That You Don’t Mind, these 13 songs are essentially a Brad solo album, with some guest spots by Ellen Reid and perhaps bassist brother Dan (my advance copy had no credits, so I’m guessing here).
Not that Puss ’N’ Boots suffers for the absense of auld acquaintance — with their chicken-scratch wah-wah guitars, sexy backup vocals, slinky slow-burning grooves and swirly production flourishes, these cuts are more earthy and soulful than anything the Dummies ever did, not to mention catchier and more accessible than most of Roberts’ recent, idiosyncratic output. Still, from the love-’em-and-leave-’em confessions of It’s A Shame to the sex-toy metaphor Triple-Master-Blaster to the good-riddance breakup song Bye-Bye Baby, Goodbye, Puss ’N’ Boots is clearly anything but your typical G-rated bedtime story.