Friday, September 29, 2006

Soul Asylum - The Silver Lining

Soul Asylum - The Silver Lining

I was only a casual fan of Soul Asylum during the peak of their success with the Grave Dancer's Union album in the early nineties. I really began to pay attention when I heard their follow-up, Let Your Dim Light Shine. It had its hit songs like Misery, but then a song like String of Pearls with its circular narrative…I dug it. When I was done listening, I wanted to hear more of what Dave Pirner and the band could do so I waited the next three years for the album that would eventually become Candy From a Stranger. I think I picked it up on the day it was released, got in the car, popped it in…and never listened to it again. I’m not sure why, but I just didn’t get it. The album as a whole escaped me and as I began to forget about Candy From a Stranger, Soul Asylum seemed to disappear as well.

After eight years, Soul Asylum has released their latest album, The Silver Lining. It is, in my opinion, the album that I was waiting for after 1995’s Let Your Dim Light Shine. The dirty guitars, hooky melody lines and the organized disarray of the band’s earlier albums are back; along with a certain maturity that is both natural, giving their eight year absence, and that was forced upon them by the striking death of founding member and Soul Asylum bassist, Karl Mueller to cancer in 2005.

While The Silver Lining doesn’t offer anything quite so iconic as either Black Gold or Run Away Train, the twelve songs it does offer are consistent and solid and, in turn bring into being a consistent and solid album. The tracks themselves range from full on rockers to more bluesy and R&B influenced tracks; all with that trademark Pirner delivery, both lyrically and vocally. The recorded instrumental performances are outstanding also, and help shape the feel of the songs themselves.

As I am not terribly familiar with Soul Asylum’s early albums, I don’t want to speak for those fans, but if you enjoyed Grave Dancer's Union or Let Your Dim Light Shine...or both, you should find yourself right at home on The Silver Lining, just like I did.

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