Album Review: Stone Temple Pilots

This self-named sixth album recently released album by the Stone Temple Pilots marks singer Scott Weiland’s return from a long drug-induced hiatus.  Additional legal wrangling with label Atlantic Records has also deprived STP fans of new material, and the release of Stone Temple Pilots has been much awaited.  Most gratifying to fans is to see brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo (the band’s guitarist and bassist) team up for the song writing effort.  The album starts off strong with Between The Lines which Weiland hopes will invoke memories of bands like The Zombies and The Animals of 60’s fame.  Guitarist Dean is unapologetic about this song’s retro appeal, and many view this synthesis of 60’s British Invasion with 90’s alternative as classic STP.

The album continues with Take A Load Off which Dean attempts to channel Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin — he makes a valiant effort but the track tends to fall a bit short.  Dean DeLeo also wrote Hickory Dichotomy with Page in mind, but he also sought to infuse Country strains evoking another one of his guitar heroes — Speedy West.  This track delivers far more than Take A Load Off and is sure to be one of the more popular songs from the album.  Cinnamon is a track that was the first to be crafted in bassist Robert DeLeo’s home studio, and Weiland indicates that the lyrics are aptly directed at his ex-wife.

Despite its limited time on the market, Stone Temple Pilots is already receiving rave reviews with some critics even referring to the album as “Beatles-esqe”.  Weiland and DeLeo won’t go that far themselves and indicated that all modern rock has gleaned influences from the Beatles era.  Other critics have likened the groove on this album to early Led Zeppelin, and Spin Magazine describes Stone Temple Pilots as an efficient mix of “psychedelic solos” along with “guitar crunch”.  This best sums up STP’s style, and for fans this sixth album definitely delivers.  Hopefully Wieland is able to keep his personal life together — and the band is able to stay on good terms with its label — so the wait for the next album won’t be as long.

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