Album Review: “Stone Temple Pilots” by Stone Temple Pilots

When Stone Temple Pilots released Thank You, the music world thought the band had sung its last song.  The probability that the remaining band members could find a replacement for Scott Weiland was a dubious proposition.  Coupled with the fact that Weiland had joined Slash to create Velvet Revolver, this made the likelihood of a Stone Temple Pilots reunion even more unlikely.  But Velvet Revolver was short-lived.

So when I heard that Stone Temple Pilots were reuniting, I was intrigued. Hesitant to jump on the bandwagon, I chose to wait patiently to see what type songs would come from the reformed band. STP produced some great songs, but could they keep grunge or “alternative rock” relevant?

Stone Temple Pilots no longer hold the upper hand like they did when Nirvana killed the metal scene in the early nineties, which made it easier for them to introduce their signature sound. Interestingly, I remember seeing STP just before Core was released supporting Megadeth on tour in 1992, which I found a rather odd combination. No one had heard of STP yet.  Little did I know that I was watching one of the biggest bands of the nineties launch its career. But times have changed.  Now, metal has resurged after rebounding from the aftermath of the grunge-era.

Would sobriety and maturity cause new songs to sound stale? Would fans end up with songs like “Plush” and “Vaseline”?   What version of STP was reformed?  So many questions, and all anyone could do is wait patiently for answers.

Once “Between the Lines,” the group’s first single from the new album, was released, it answered some questions.  Stone Temple Pilots was back, or at least the band had produced a hit single.

Upon receiving an invite from Atlantic to hear the new album, I quickly accepted.  Once I was able to hear the new music, I listened to the album several times. After searching for something wrong with the new album, reality set in: STP’s new songs are sublime.  Stone Temple Pilots’ psychedelic, bluesy style is injected into twelve songs that have distinct personalities.  The collection of songs highlights group’s eclectic music character.  Solid songwriting produced music with beautiful harmonies and infectious melodies.

“Take a Load” embodies STP’s classic sound which is heard in songs like “Vaseline” and “Big Empty”.  “Huckleberry Crumble” has a groove that sounds like it pays homage to Aerosmith with its bluesy guitar riff.  Weiland’s vocals embody a tinge of Steven Tyler too. The irresistible guitar and drum groove in “Fast as I Can” will force feet to stomp to its rhythms.  The slower-paced “Maver” concludes the album with its hard-to-resist melody that will surely be a hit if released as a single.

It’s clear, the time spent apart rejuvenated the band’s creativity allowing them to grow and evolve.  Doubts about the band’s ability to still produce great music can be laid to rest.

Final conclusion: the new Stone Temple Pilots album won’t disappoint fans and will inevitably add to their already existing base.

The self-titled album, Stone Temple Pilots, is scheduled for release on May 25, 2010.

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