Review by Jason Guest
Stone Temple Pilots are back. Again. But this time it looks like they may be here to stay, to play live, and produce music on a regular basis. Why? Weiland is gone. Read the articles and watch the countless interviews with the members of STP and Velvet Revolver and it appears that Weiland was never the easiest person to work with. But the best bands never do get along do they? Creatively, Weiland’s contributions to both STP and VR cannot be discounted. An inspired lyricist with a great voice and a keen ear for a melody and hooks aplenty, having to replace him poses a challenge, to say the least. So where do the DeLeo brothers and drummer Eric Ketz go? To Chester Bennington. Yes, he of Linkin Park, no less. Hmmm…
Bennington’s got a powerful voice that’s somewhat softer than Weiland’s and he can clearly write as many melodies as he can hooks. Lyrically he’s, well… shall we say “different” to Weiland? While not as poetic – or adventurous for that matter – what he does bring to STP’s idiosyncratic rock/alternative hybrid is more of the pop sensibilities and commercial appeal that the band has been nurturing throughout their career, particularly since 1999’s No.4. The musicianship is up to their usual standard, their chemistry as a unit is as concentrated and focussed as it ever was. Robert DeLeo’s bass-lines are still the stuff that grooves are made of, i.e., melodic and rhythmic in equal measure; Dean DeLeo’s idiosyncratic rock-with-a-twist guitar work is as bright as it is hard-hitting, his leads melodic and innovative, even inspired here and there; and little need be said of Ketz’s drum work because here, as always, he’s proved himself to be the heartbeat of both the songs and the band. And together they sound, well, like STP, Bennington sounding uncannily like Weiland here and there.
But while the EP clearly demonstrates that Ketz and the DeLeo brothers are happy to be writing and playing together again – no doubt due to the fact that they’ve got a singer that’s more reliable than and as creatively driven as his predecessor – the songs aren’t that great. While ‘Out of Time’ is an all-out rocker much in the vein of most STP album openers, the 70s-rock-meets-The-Beatles ‘Black Heart’ sounds more like Oasis than STP (ugh!). Thankfully ‘Same on the Inside’ lifts the EP back to the standard established with the opening track, and though ‘Cry Cry’ has some interesting riffs and an interesting melody and closer ‘Tomorrow’ retains that STP vintage-tinged sound – the band making their way quickly to the hook-laced, melodic chorus – neither do much to inspire. Picking up where they left with the 2010 eponymous album and finding their feet again, this is a good but not great EP. Fairly standard, radio-friendly rock with a far-too-diluted STP twist that makes it better than most, it’s more the hope rather than the promise of what this new relationship may produce that warrants giving this a listen.
6 out of 10
- Out Of Time
- Black Heart
- Same On The Inside
- Cry Cry