First Published at The Music Box, August 1998, Volume 5, #8
Written by John Metzger
Screaming Trees has always been best when it has merged its hard-rocking, grunge sound with its '60s influences. On its last outing Sweet Oblivion, the band veered into more straightforward rock, but on Dust, the group returns to form, at least in part, with a barrage of swirling psychedelic sounds that include sitar, congas, and timbales. All I Know, the single from this disc, mixes The Beatles' I Am the Walrus with Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers to form a bombastic assault on the senses. Halo of Ashes adds a swirling array of Eastern-sounds, and Traveler is a beautiful blend of The Beatles and The Moody Blues. Elsewhere, Dying Days features the Heartbreaker's Benmont Tench on keyboards and gives Pearl Jam's Mike McCready a chance to rip through a guitar solo à la Neil Young. Most notable about Dust, however, is Mark Lanegan's ever-improving vocal ability. At times, he slides his voice from one note to the next, blurring words and phrases with passionate conviction, even as the band fades into the background with a plodding rhythm. ½
Dust is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1998 The Music Box