It is all too easy to jump on the “Stone Temple Pilots is so yesterday” bandwagon. I admit that I had pretty much written the band off after the appearance of “No. 4” – they had a couple good tracks left in them, but not enough to fill an album. I never imagined their 2010 self-titled reunion record would do more than just raise a curious eyebrow.
But the latest from STP is a pleasant surprise! It is less of a gritty rocker than early STP – which will alienate some longtime fans – but the new melodic rock direction suits them well. What STP has managed to do here should not be underestimated – they still have some of their grunge influence (you’ll hear clear derivations from 90s kings like Nirvana and Pearl Jam), but bring more of a modern powerpop sensibility to the songwriting. Scott Weiland sounds re-energized and Dean DeLeo has a never-ending bag of guitar tricks that can make a so-so song sound so much better. Catchy melodies abound on this CD, with highlights including the single, “Between The Lines”, “Take A Load Off”, “Hickory Dichotomy”, and “Cinnamon”. And don’t miss “First Kiss On Mars” if you are a David Bowie fan – I did a musical double-take when hearing the first verse!
The record cuts right to the chase – it only takes the band 40 minutes to rip through the twelve new tracks. Even the rare filler is tolerable and not bad enough to hit fast forward. This is one of their most consistent records and can enjoyed straight through from start to finish.
In short, I think it is the band’s best since 1996’s “Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop”. Give it a shot. It certainly gets my vote for the most pleasant surprise of 2010 so far.
iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12