Happy In Galoshes

Scott Weiland

Soft Drive, 2008


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


If 12-Bar Blues was the logical successor to Stone Temple Pilots' odd pop-alt-psychedelic third album Tiny Music...Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop, then Happy In Galoshes is the logical successor to STP's second act as a wised-up journeyman rock band.

12-Bar Blues was singer Scott Weiland's first solo album after breaking with STP the first time in 1998, and it was full of eccentric oddities, layers of sound and piles of instruments all evoking sound and art in as many detours from STP as possible. Weiland then rejoined the fold for a couple turn of the century albums before leaving again to sing for Velvet Revolver. Once that band inevitably dissolved, Weiland found himself back in the studio on his own.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The new album has much in common with those late-period STP discs, very little with Velvet Revolver and almost nothing with 12-Bar Blues. That is to say, it is standard, sort of generic midtempo rock with elements of pop and latent psychedelia, sounding a lot like latter-day David Bowie (check out "Paralysis") in the process. To bring this point home, Weiland includes an unnecessary cover/remix of "Fame" with Paul Oakenfold, and I'm not sure why.

The thing is, Weiland is most fun when he's either rocking out or a little off the rails, so a disc where he plays it straight the whole time is a bit dull, even though the emotion on display is perhaps the most honest we've ever seen from the man. The occasional nifty song rises up, such as the single "Missing Cleveland," the acoustic "Killing Me Sweetly" with its hints of bossa nova and the slightly ominous, melancholic "Pictures & Computers (I'm Not Superman)." An ode to Tom Waits is here again in "Beautiful Day," which is an acquired taste for most people, but it's nothing compared to the hidden track, an honest-to-God church hymn called "Be Not Afraid" that is slowed down and slightly electrified. It's not even a joke, and that's the funny part, and it goes on for more than six minutes.

So Weiland still has the power to surprise, and every so often the songs here rise to his level of capability, but guitarist Doug Grean is no DeLeo brother (or Slash). Losing his second band, his brother and a wife in one year would take a toll on anybody, which accounts for Weiland's more sober, reflective persona and almost none of those detours that makes his other work so interesting. This will appeal to fans of singer/songwriters and those who appreciated STP's more sensitive, straightforward side. Still, this more humanized Weiland is also a little less interesting, which makes this disc not terribly essential, even if it presents another side to the man we rarely see.

Rating: C-

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