Sunday, April 5, 2015

Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts: "Blaster"


This is the first album from Scott Weiland since his divorce from Stone Temple Pilots. There's been a lot of hype behind "Blaster" for that reason, but more significantly, guitarist Jeremy Brown passed away the day before its release. He was not only an accomplished musician, but the driving force behind the sound of this album. It's filled with heavy riffs and an assortment of versatile guitar effects. Half the record sounds like something STP would release, but the other half is more like The Smiths or Echo & the Bunnymen. "Blaster" is not as artistically self-indulgent as Weiland's previous solo efforts, although both albums were thoroughly awesome. It's more concise as to a specific 'rock and roll' direction, almost like a garage rock band from the 1970's recorded through hi-fi modern production gear. Scott Weiland is known to slink and slide into different characters and alter his voice depending on what era of his career you're listening to. For this album, Marc Bolan seems to be the dominant influence. It's feel-good music with an addictive touch of lyrical pop hooks, somewhat like a T Rex album and Weiland admits this by including a stellar cover version of "20th Century Boy". The band proves to be more than competent and sadly due to the loss of Jeremy Brown, The Wildabouts may be remembered as a one-off, one record band that could have done so much more. It definitely has that raw sound, the sound of a band finding itself on its debut recording. The Wildabouts aren't overreaching or trying to reinvent the wheel, but they establish a unique sound and hard hitting rocker of an album for the Weiland fans. Don't expect a 1990's grunge album or a throwback to Weiland's other former bandmates- Velvet Revolver, but expect a refreshed and renewed Scott Weiland starting over via classic and indie rock influences. I don't know where this album will place on the charts, but I think it will stand out as a highlight in Weiland's discography as an ambitious attempt to recharge his career and a successful one at that.

notable trax: "Hotel Rio", "Circles"