Unhip grungers return
If it was all about perseverance, Stone
Temple Pilots would certainly deserve some kind of merit certificate – maybe even a book token – for their refusal to quit while they were behind. Not only did singer Scott Weiland succumb to heroin, he also succumbed to the legal system, and at one point the band’s future looked so hopeless that they drafted in another vocalist.
Now a happily married father, Weiland’s reformed character is all over the flamboyant grunge relics’ fifth album, manifesting itself in the sweet domestic balladry of ‘Hello It’s Late’ and ‘A Song For Sleeping’, rare in the genre of rock-star lullabies for not making you empathise with King Herod. The feather-boa’d butch of ‘Hollywood Bitch’ and the
fire-breathing ‘Dumb Love’ prove their metal mettle, yet while it’s good to see people survive, it’s impossible to forget that Stone Temple Pilots were always the Flat Earth Society of grunge, clinging to its most conservative tenets long after the original protagonists had moved on. Today, in a world rooted in an entirely different stratum of rock, they’re as lively
as the corpses that archaeologists hook out of peat bogs: perfectly preserved, but not great for dancing or conversation.
Unfortunately, what doesn’t kill you doesn’t make you more relevant, either.