Veteran grunge rockers Stone Temple Pilots are back. On May 21st, STP released their self-titled 6th album and their first since 2001. The band has been rocking since 1992 and, upon first listen; you will see they have in no way compromised their sound in order to keep rocking until now.
After achieving commercial success with a solo album and two albums with rock supergroup Velvet Revolver, Scott Weiland comes back into the fold to lend his vocal talents to one of the most prolific bands to come out of the 90’s grunge rock movement.
Stone Temple Pilots is a nice amalgamation of all the different phases we heard the band go through with previous albums. This is why fans of theirs might be very indifferent towards this particular album. As a fan of STP for most of my life I was excited to hear what they had come up with in the last 9 years. The answer is basically, “nothing much, but we also didn’t change anything.” They even show how little they changed things up by offering a live cut of one of their old singles, “Vasoline,” on the deluxe version of the album thus telling their fans, “Sorry if this isn’t up to par, but here’s something we know you will like.”
Of the tracks on the album, “Peacoat,” seems to show the most resemblance to harder popular radio hits cut by the band such as classics “Dead and Bloated”, and “Vasoline.” Weiland’s voice plays the star on this track, but a haunting bass line right from the start make it a fun tune to listen to. “Dare If You Dare,” can be put alongside “Interstate Love Song” and “Creep” as a more ballad song which truly shows the range of Weiland’s voice, which surprisingly still has a life to it after all these years and a few stints in rehab. Dean DeLeo shows on this song that he can still play his axe with the best of the grunge rock movement with a wicked solo that will almost surely be featured on the next installment of Guitar Hero.
While the album is musically and technically what you would expect from a band that has essentially been playing together for close to 2 decades, the writing is surprisingly subpar. There are no signs of those very insightful lyrics that have been emblazoned on the legacy of albums past. “Take time with a wounded hand,” from “Creep,” and the entire lyrical composition of “Plush” stole the thunder away from the rest of already good albums; Stone Temple Pilots doesn’t have that. The singles either took a back seat and they set out to lyrically write a balanced album and fell just short, or Weiland snorted the last piece of lyrical creativeness he had up his nose.
So, if you feel compelled to hear this album, and if you were a fan of STP in the past I encourage you to do so, go into it with a closed mind instead of an open one. There is no real “wow factor” on this album that will convert people into fans of STP, but there is nothing to drive their old fans away. They way I looked at this album was just a casual catching up with an old friend, and if you look at it that way it will be a fun listen.
By Mitch Inkrott