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Soul Asylum
Delayed Reaction
CD on Freeworld
Cat No: FREEM245CD , Stk Ref 79738

Released on: 01 February 2013

Magazine Review
Soul Asylum is an alt. rock/grunge band which formed in Minneapolis in 1983. The quartet consists of David Pirner on lead vocals and guitar, Dan Murphy on guitar, Tommy Stinson on bass and Michael Bland on drums. All are truly excellent musicians. They played at Bill Clinton's inauguration in the 1990s and won a Grammy for 'Runaway Train,' a dynamic and evocative song from their 1992 album, 'Grave Dancers Union', which featured a video that included names and photos of missing children and led to several family reunions.

Their most recent album, 'Delayed Reaction', follows their winning formula. Overall the lyrics magically fit together, phrase after phrase, to result in a really gratifying listen. At the helm is David Pirner, whose concepts consistently come off in a forceful and passionate way. It almost seems that the band members have extra sensory perception too. They synch up their sound successfully song after song on this CD.

Opening is 'Gravity', which throbs with exciting rhythms and wry lyrical content: "Can't stand the gravity/Can't stand it. 'Into the Light (Breaking Horses)' gets more focused: "You're skating on a grave that's paved with ice..." 'The Streets' is another one with frenzied, palpable energy and delightfully in-your-face lyrics. 'By the Way' is a charming arrangement strengthened by sharp backing vocals and Pirner's expressive vulnerability. It is difficult to not be transformed by this piece.

'Pipe Dream' offers more visceral word play: "Like a match burning fast in the cold breeze/Like a house made of glass in a pipe dream." These lead up to the band's ironic and turbulent reaction to world events: 'Let's All Kill Each Other' in which Pirner aches, "I'm sick and tired of everyone."

'Cruel Intentions' is a refreshing surprise. Soulful piano crouches in the background as Pirner does a vocal about face - if you have any doubts that this front man can handle a variety of styles, this song will allay your fear.

'The Juice' promises more clever romantic outlooks: "I got my I love too/I'm gonna squeeze it right out of you/That's when I know I got the juice." 'Take Manhattan' snaps: "Make it happen/Take me to Manhattan/If you like LA that is cool." The black sheep of the family is the gothic 'I Should've Stayed in Bed', which features dissonant, escalating progressions and a curious pessimism which somewhat lightens up as the song progresses - but, thankfully, not too much.

Essentially, throughout 'Delayed Reaction', Soul Asylum has proven again what excellent songs they can create and how versatile they can be through their exploration of the material. This contagious mix will definitely attract a large and intelligent audience.

Lisa Torem


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