Tuesday, May 25, 2010;
Stone Temple Pilots
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS
In the life cycle of a troubled band, reunion albums are the next-to-last stage, after rehab stints, regrettable solo albums and supergroup side projects, but before the final reunion tour, The One Where Everything Falls Apart.
Until now, Stone Temple Pilots hadn't released an album of new material in almost nine years, which means they've been publicly feuding for almost as long as they were famous in the first place. Their new, self-titled disc finds Scott Weiland, the Lindsay Lohan of androgynous '90s frontmen, reunited with his long-suffering bandmates for a weirdly mild, tension-free outing.
Genial and pop-centric, it's a perfectly respectable Stone Temple Pilots disc with a little bit of the air taken out of its tires. That in itself may be a small victory -- people didn't use to use words like "Stone Temple Pilots" and "respectable" and "album" in the same sentence.
The perennial standard-bearers for a certain kind of glittery grunge-pop, STP are better at mixing their influences in novel ways than at actually being novel themselves. Here, they've added country and even psych-rock to their usual repertoire of Aerosmith and more Aerosmith, and while there's nothing that feels out of place, there's nothing that feels like it belongs to them, either.
Tracks like "Between the Lines" offer nominal updates of the band's sound without making much of a case for their own existence; they're perfectly fine, but not essential. For those who like their reunion albums fierier and more fraught, there's always Soundgarden, 2011, to look forward to.
-- Allison Stewart
"Between the Lines," "Huckleberry Crumble"