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returning strong from Seattle
Purple (Atlantic)
Stone Temple Pilots

Sophomore jinx for the Stone Temple Pilots? Hardly.

I am no fan of the Seattle grunge movement. The Stone Temple Pilots, however, don't leave quite the bad taste in one's mouth that many of the bands do who hail from the Pacific Northwest's hotbed of squawl.

On Purple, the Pilots' most recent release, you'll not find the boys being self-indulgent and commercially motivated, as is the case with so many bands who've just had a platinum album. You know the kind: they come back cocky and arrogant, then proceed to turn out a mediocre set of music that turns off even the hardcore fans.

Whether it's the band's lack of effort or the public's high demands, often it is impossible to follow a platinum with another platinum. But while the Pilots make no bones about being a Seattle grunge band, they also go about their business of making music without belaboring the point.

On Purple, STP displays a version of this wildly popular music that goes beyond the doomsday lyric and bleeding-ear guitar icon of the genre. In fact, they display an almost folky quality in their writing and approach to music.

Quite frankly it blends well, especially in a world where grunge is grunge and all other music is all other music and that is that.

The band's knack for writing good pop-rock numbers (hold your breath, Seattle) also shines through here on track No. 9 of the disc, with a song titled "Ungived."

Even though you'll be hearing "Vaseline," "Big Empty" and "Interstate Love Song" on the radio for their more traditional bump and grind, the best points of this album are in the aforementioned "Ungived, "Still Remains," and especially "Pretty Penny" for their authenticity and freshness, at least within the confines of Seattle's choking grip.

Give those Stone Temple Pilots some credit for loosening their own collars a bit, even when most people, especially the critics, believed their ties were clip-ons.

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