Even though they came of age during the grunge era, Stone Temple Pilots are a throwback to the rock and roll bands of the ‘60s and ’70 replete with all the key ingredients: mighty guitar riffs, strong melodies, indelible hooks and a lead singer with swagger and charisma to spare.
On their first album in nine years, “Stone Temple Pilots,” the quartet has lost none of its potency even if there’s nothing here that grabs hold with quite the insta-grip of an “Interstate Love Song” or “Plush.” Scott Weiland’s supple voice hasn’t been ravished by his rock and roll excesses (he recently told Billboard that he’s been drug free for seven years) and bassist Robert DeLeo and guitarist Dean DeLeo still know their way around a well-crafted hook. Together, with drummer Eric Kretz, they’ve created a strong, mainstream rock record that heralds their influences: the time-honored music of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, T Rex and David Bowie.
Plus, they’ve clearly kept their chops up in the intervening years between 2001’s “Shangri-La Dee Da” and their 2008 reunion tour: Weiland fronted Velvet Revolver, while the DeLeos joined Filter’s Robert Patrick in Army of Anyone. The playing is sharp and crisp throughout.
First single, the swampy “Between the Lines,” zoomed to the top of Billboard’s Rock Songs chart, marking the group’s first major hit since 2003. Like many of the songs on “Stone Temple Pilots,” it sounds retro while seeming completely contemporary. “Hickory Dichotomy” recalls Bowie; “Hazy Daze” has the muscular crunch of Led Zeppelin and it’s hard not to singthe Beatles’ “Taxman” to “Bagman.” Other highlights include “Cinnamon” is a fun, uptempo romp that recalls the Cure —hardly a band associated with STP.
STP—along with producer Don Was, who assists here-- doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any means, but time and experience has taught them well. Weiland remains a true rock star in a time seriously devoid of rock stars and over run with poseurs. They remain students of rock and of those who came before them, but in the process have become masters as well.
Listen to the whole album here. What do you think?