Susan Luzzaro 4:30 p.m., Dec. 11
Stone Temple Pilots
1) Between the Lines
2) Take a load off
3) Huckleberry Crumble
4) Hickory Dichotomy
5) Dare if You Dare
7) Hazy Daze
10) Fast as I can
11) First Kiss on Mars
When grunge was king, Stone Temple Pilots was the Rodney Dangerfield of the genre. Critics gave them little respect, deriding the group as bandwagoners trying to sound like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, [insert other popular acts of the time]. Eighteen years after the release of their debut and nine years since their last album, the foursome remain unafraid to display their multiple musical personalities. And critics be damned, the album reached #2 on the Billboard chart.
Stone Temple Pilots begins with the radio-ready “Between the Lines,” led by large, layered guitars. Vocalist Scott Weiland belts, “You always were my favorite drug/Even when we used to take drugs.” Considering Weiland's well-documented heroine addiction, the line registers as more than a quaint sentiment. “Take a Load Off” completes the opening 1-2 punch and is the melodic, hard-rocking stadium anthem for which STP is best known
Still, identity issues remain. The group throws a curve ball with “Huckleberry Crumble,” which draws on “Rag Doll” era Aerosmith. The boogie-woggie continues on “Hickory Dichotomy,” with a detour to Led Zeppelin's “Dancing Days.” The Beatles get their due by way of Oasis on the psychedelic-tinged “Dare If You Dare.”
Weiland’s higher register singing and the shoe-gazing pop of “Cinnamon” resembles nothing else on the album. Following “Cinnamon,” the heavy riff-rock of “Hazy Days” comes as a shock. Weiland does his lower-voiced David Bowie impression on the mid-tempo “Peacoat,” and his Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie on “First Kiss on Mars.” “Fast as I Can” rocks like its 1991 (think Guns N Roses' Use Your Illusion). In typical STP fashion, the country-tinged, soft-rock ballad “Maver” closes the album on an off-kilter note.