Razor & Tie, 1997

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Recorded during the period between Pearl Jam's No Code and Yield, Brad's second album is hardly up to the level of its predecessor, 1993's Shame.

That album took just over two weeks to record but felt like more than the sum of its parts, the end result a minor alt-rock gem that sounded nothing like Pearl Jam. Guitarist Stone Gossard, apparently needing a break after my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 No Code and the Ticketmaster/Congress fiasco, called his Brad bandmates back together for a second go, and this time the quartet took its time writing and recording an album.

Despite the gestation, the album is far less successful, although Gossard manages to get a few decent riffs here and there. As before, almost nothing here has to do with Pearl Jam or the grunge scene at all, opting instead for a sort of alt-rock/singer-songwriter hybrid. "Secret Girl" is at least promising, a garage rock number keeping in line with Shame that hits fast, but nicely, and leaves a mark.

Most of the rest of the disc is serious and studied, much like No Code but without the gravitas, as in the Blues Traveler knockoff "The Day Brings," the dull "Upon My Shoulders," the shrug-inducing "Circle & Line" and "Some Never Come Home" and the odd "Candles." A few spicy rockers are peppered in to liven things up, but they mostly go through the motions, failing to reach the heights of which Gossard is capable. "Those Three Words" tries for a funky groove but doesn't quite pull it off.

"Lift" is a decent rocker that grows on the listener, "Funeral Song" plods through the mud with a smile and "I Don't Know" is an insistent midtempo number carried by Shawn Smith's falsetto vocals and an uneasy feeling that lingers once the song ends. It's the best song here, but it's not worth buying an entire disc for.

The reissue of Interiors features two bonus tracks, "Seance" and "Heaven Help," that were not released in the U.S., but they add nothing to the album and are for completists only.

Put it this way: If No Code is your favorite Pearl Jam album, you will probably enjoy this one. Otherwise, there's little that transcends.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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