Friday, June 26, 2015

Album Review: Stone Temple Pilots - Purple

Stone Temple Pilots were largely derided back in the 90s as grunge bandwagon jumpers and rip-off merchants.  They weren't even from Seattle for Christ's sake.  It's true to say that their debut, Core was a little self-consciously heavy and grungy.  But by the time of 1994's Purple the band had certainly hit their stride and they settled into their groove, not a metal-ish grunge band, more a heavy pop band.  The opener on Purple, Meatplow is probably the heaviest moment here, Dean DeLeo's big riffs provide the backdrop for Scott Weiland to warble over.  So where's the pop you might ask?  Well it duly arrives on track 2, Vasoline.  Built on a one-chord repetitive riff, it's a classic driving song with one of many great big singalong choruses on the album ("is it you, is it me, search for things you cannot see, going blind out of reach somewhere in the vasoline").  Even better is Interstate Love Song.  It starts with a vaguely country guitar drawl before the big riffs come crashing in, leading to another massive chorus that's built for in car listening.

They do a fine line in heavy yet laidback pop, the slow, deliberate riffs of Still Remains provide one of the more sensitive yet poppy moments here as Weiland sings a tale of desperate and rather revolting desire ("take a bath I'll drink the water that you leave, if you should die before me ask if you can bring a friend").  The brooding Big Empty has a similar slow feel to it.  They haven't completely turned their back on hard rock, Silvergun Superman rocks pretty hard, Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz as the rhythm section do a superb job to anchor.  The album finishes with Kitchenware and Candybars, which builds up from a slow patient strum to a kind of ballsy riffing anthem, which concludes the album nicely before a hidden track featuring a random Johnny Mathis-style crooner.

This album is the perfect introduction to the Stone Temple Pilots.  They don't reinvent rock n roll but they channel it into some great heavy pop thrills.