Tuesday, April 3, 2007
The Ass-Kicking Years:
Before they lost their balls and went all weepy alternative country, Soul Asylum churned out some of the most compelling and gripping alternative rock that you were likely to stumble across back in the 1980's. They took the earnest melodies and heavy jangle of The Replacements and laced that sound with intricate time changes, weird melodies, and an overall sense of abandon. To make matters even better, Hang Time shows Dave Pirner and co. blooming into some excellent songwriters. Big catchy hooks? Present and accounted for: "Sometime To Return", "Beggars And Choosers", and the single "Cartoon." Speedy reckless anthems chock full of melodic twists and turns? Check: "Jack Of All Trades" and "Ode." Bizarre noise rock? Yes! Listen to the apocalyptic track "Heavy Rotation" and try to remember that this is the same group who broke big with "Runaway Train"!
Hang Time was actually the first cassette tape i ever purchased and it's one of those albums that has been permanently branded into my brain and heart. Call me a little crazy, but I am still a big Soul Asylum fan. I have always bought their albums (and not always been pleased with their direction at times); but I've always stuck to them and this absolute gem of an album is a strong testament to the wild-eyed emotional magic that they could conjure up.