Blind Melon - Soup - Vinyl

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Blind Melon: Shannon Hoon (vocals); Christopher Thorn, Rogers Stevens (guitar); Brad Smith (bass, background vocals); Glen Graham (drums, percussion).Additional personnel: Jena Kraus (vocals); Miles Tackett (cello); Kermit Ruffins, The Little Rascals Brass Band (horns); Stephen Moses (trombone); Mike Kelsey.Recorded at Kingsway Studios and Ultrasonic Studios, New Orleans, Louisiana from November 1994 to January 1995.All songs written by Blind Melon except "Car Seat (God's Presents)" (Blind Melon/Blanche Bridge).From the onset, Blind Melon eluded simple musical categorization. They weren't grunge moaners, or alternative posers, or nouveau hippies--just five guys who took a classic FM sound and molded it to their own requirements. So when "No Rain" began climbing the charts, it was hard not to cheer on their progress through the sea of plaid-shirt mediocrity. On SOUP, Blind Melon throw the last of their caution to the wind, weaving a quilt of familiar classic-rock colors out of the kind of threads that hadn't been seen in these parts since the AOR heyday of the mid-'70s.Opening (and closing) the album to the strains of a New Orleans brass band is an announcement that, as far as instrumentation goes, all bets are off. In this, SOUP evokes such '70s progressives as Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull--expanding on the heavy blues boogie with unexpected touches. "Toes Across the Floor" switches from a spacey, Pink Floyd-esque mysterioso verse to an up-tempo, raga-ish chorus that's packed with a flute, some maracas and Shannon Hoon leading a faux traditional Hawaiian chorus, among other things. "Dumptruck" veers schizophrenically between jazzy strides, particularly in the inspired interplay between bassist Brad Smith and drummer Glen Graham, and the fuzzed-up psychedelic funk of Roger Stevens and Christopher Thorn's guitars.In between, there are simpler, down-home evocations of acoustic roots (both "Walk" and "Skinned" benefit from the addition of traditional string instruments) and groove-oriented, Zep-style work-outs ("2X4"). What SOUP boils down to is a sometimes-exhilarating hodgepodge of extremely varied ingredients--one that reaffirms Blind Melon's choice to cook with their own instincts rather than with modern rock styles.Most '90s rock bands who enjoyed massive breakthrough success with their debut album seemed to follow it up with an effort similarly styled to its predecessor, hence guaranteeing repeat success. This proved not to be the case with Blind Melon. It appeared as though the band rejected the jovial spirit of No Rain and focused on much darker material for their follow-up, Soup. While it did not match the commercial success of the debut, Soup proved to be a challenging, gripping record that is just as strong and perhaps even more rewarding. Shannon Hoon was in the throes of drug addiction (which would prove fatal only two months after the album's release), and his experience at a drug detox is clearly detailed in the Zep-groover, "2x4." Hoon's lyrics often examine his growing sense of mortality, as evidenced in "The Duke," "St. Andrew's Fall," and "Car Seat," while "New Life" shows Hoon hoping that the birth of his baby daughter will put his life back on track. The country-tinged "Skinned" is written from the standpoint of notorious killer, Ed Gein, the anthemic rocker, "Galaxie," appears to deal with a troubled relationship, and "Vernie" is a tribute to his grandmother. Some of the tracks prove hopeful ("Walk"), while others are steeped in despair ("Toes Across the Floor," "Wilt"). Soup deserved to be another big hit, but due to MTV and radio's abrupt abandonment of the band, harsh reviews from close-minded critics, and worst of all, Hoon's untimely death mid-tour, all hopes of the album receiving the attention it deserved were extinguished. Soup is one of the most underrated and overlooked great rock albums of the '90s. ~ Greg Prato

  • Genre: Pop
  • Format: Vinyl

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