Soul Asylum “Change Of Fortune”
Soul Asylum are one of those bands who are hugely unappreciated. They had big success with their brilliant Grave Dancers Union album, but their subsequent output has failed to achieve the same exposure, in the UK in particular. This latest release is being delivered by a virtually ‘new’ Soul Asylum with only singer Dave Pirner being the survivor from the original line up.
Opener “Supersonic” certainly suggests that they haven’t lost their gift for catchy, alternative rock. They have even retained some of their early US punk leanings, as shown on “Can’t Help It”. Indeed, “Doomsday” is one of the best, catchiest, commercial rock songs they’ve done. These songs will certainly appeal to their old/hard-core fans.
There is, however, a sense that they are also looking to do something ‘different’ on this album. Whether this is an attempt to attract ‘new’ fans or not, it’s certainly a bold move. The blatant ‘glam pop’ of “Ladies Man” won’t appeal to all, but we love it. Likewise, the eighties arena rock of “When I See You” and “Moonshine” may irk some of their ‘alternative’ fans. It’s probably closer to Bon Jovi than Nirvana! However, we enjoy a good, big old rock song, so it’s fine with us!
They don’t always completely pull it off though. “Make It Real” is a bit jumbled and you need to get past the over-elaborate intro of “Dealing” before you’re rewarded by the main part of the song. Then again, when you get to “Don’t Bother Me”, you have an adult pop/rock song of the finest order. Indeed, this is ‘the one’ which could see them again enjoying mass public success.
Given the challenges that the band (or should that just be Dave?) have faced over the years, you have to respect their longevity. More importantly, you can’t help but admire their resistance to the temptation to just churn out ‘another’ Soul Asylum record. Is this their best album, probably not, but there are songs which match their best which is no mean feat for a band with a truly brilliant back catalogue of tunes.