F*ck Ups Forgiven
Stone Temple Pilots’ first album in nine years is a distinctive blend of peppy 90’s nostalgia and super melodic drug songs that succeed in picking up where the band left off, despite the addictions, divorces and alienation that followed their break up.
The first thing you should know is that no matter how they show up on your shuffle, these songs sound like Stone Temple Pilots. Brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo remain the foundation of the band, and initially approached ex- Velvet Revolver singer Scott Weiland with an offer to take a grab bag of cash to reunite as STP at a mediocre rock festival. However, this lead to a tour, which put the brothers and Weiland on enough of the same emotional plane to record this self titled album. The songs present STP as they were in their heyday, with strong songwriting and a hearty array of radio ready rock.
“Between the Lines” is a barn-burning requiem from Weiland to his co-bi-polar ex where he snakes through a perfectly melodic chorus as a shout out to her, “You always were my favorite drug, even when we used to take drugs” This should be being printed on a sweat shop T-shirt somewhere by now. “Take a Load Off” drops a gritty midtempo groove is that is infectious with purpose. Weiland soars through the chorus as the extremely under-rated Robert Deleo hits all of the warm, deep bass tones that are a silent but deadly STP signature. The brothers are locked in tight with each other as usual. Solos glide in and out with just enough wank, albeit with perfect tonal character for each song.
Mr. Weiland, whom apparently did all of the vocals in a separate studio on Weiland time, simply defies expectations. His voice sounds warm, healthy and clean, and the melodies he comes up with spread his range around effortlessly. He brings out his best Bowie glitter-buggery on “Hickory Dichotomy,” an almost indie pop croon on “Cinnamon,” and a flowery, fab four-meets-70s AM soft rock glow on the piano ballad “Maver.”
After all he has been through, and put others through, Scott Weiland’s broad vocal/melodic performance on this album may finally take the focus off of his screw–ups and convince the masses of his talent and resilience. He just might be the only one left after the planet’s demise, singing songs of love and drugs in the atomic wind, tattered scarf blowing, swinging skinny hips and feet in tandem, dancing around the roaches, static and ash.