Hang Time

Soul Asylum

Twin/Tone/A&M, 1988


REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


On their fourth album and first to be released by a major, Soul Asylum showed that they had something to prove. Gone were a lot of the hardcore edges that had permeated their first couple of records, replaced by a great alternative rock machine that while it didn’t do much for them at the time set the stage for their future success.

Produced in tandem by Ed Stasium and Lenny Kaye, the band was clearly ready for the big time. The best song on the album (and in my belief, the best damn song they ever released) is “Cartoon,” a powerhouse track written by guitarist Dan Murphy. Expertly produced, expertly played, and sang to near hysterics by both Murphy and Dave Pirner, it is one of those classic songs that you fall in love with after the first listen. I could write this whole damn review about one song and how it makes even the lesser tracks on here like “Beggars & Choosers” and “Ode” sound all the more stronger as a result. Just one listen to this track if you haven’t heard it already will make you an instant convert, TRUST ME.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Even the album’s opening salvo “Down On Up To Me” is a barnburner, just full of electric power and full-on rockin’! This is a bit of a quirky disc, though, and some different characteristics come through on tracks like “Marionette” and “Jack Of All Trades,” not to mention the acoustic “Twiddly Dee.” While these would be things that would become more commonplace on their latter-day records, it was a bit different here at the time. But the good thing is that all the tracks work and make the record the more memorable.

The album’s weirdest moment is saved for the very end with a half-brained, seemingly drunk version of a Terry Jacks song. No, it’s not “Seasons In The Sun;” it’s some weird monstrosity called “Put The Bone In,” which is seemingly about a dead dog but could be about so much more. It seriously has to be heard all the way though to be believed.

While this record helped set the pace for the band’s future success, it failed miserably at the time. But I truly think this is the band’s best record. Don’t believe me? Have a listen and prove me wrong!

Rating: A-

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