Blind Melon
Soup


4.0
excellent

Review

by SitarHero USER (33 Reviews)
June 15th, 2011 | 9 replies | 2,757 views


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Gone too soon.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Blind Melon were a near ubiquitous presence on early 90's MTV and radio with the song 'No Rain', which was a bouncy and happy-sounding ditty about bi-polar disorder. However, the song and accompanying video, universally known as the Bumblebee-girl video, were so upbeat and sunny that most people overlooked the dark subject matter of the song and its combination of acoustic guitar rhythm, instantly recognizable electric guitar hook and sing-along melody made it the perfect 90's pop-rock classic. However, while peers such as Hootie & The Blowfish seemed intent on churning out the same song over and over again in the hope of holding on to fleeting success and pop-cultural relevance, Blind Melon tired of the song and formula far quicker than their audience, even going so far as to perform the song live in a completely different "stripped away" avatar. It's obvious that the success of the song was seen by the band as cumbersome and hindered their artistic ambititions. Thus, if you are expecting their sophomore album to be a reprise of their first album and contain 'No Rain 2' you're in for a not completely unpleasant surprise.

The band's musical growth and maturity is immediately apparent. The album is not nearly as predictable, formulaic or accessible as the first album. The individual elements are all pretty much intact; intertwining guitar lines a-la the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin-influenced riffs and lead singer Shannon Hoon's distinctive clear tenor voice. However the band shows a willingness to experiment right from the get-go with the almost spoken word intro to 'Galaxie' by Hoon with a brass band backing him up that suddenly kicks into the guitar riff of the song. The band also sees fit to incorporate a kazoo into the jaunty folk-song 'Skinned' told from the perspective of serial-killer Ed Gein and its cheerful craziness, both lyrical and musical, is equal parts creepy and funny.

Songs about serial-killers aside, the band shows a great deal of emotional depth with the gentle acoustic song 'Vernie' dedicated to Hoon's grandmother and the hauntingly beautiful 'Mouthful of Cavities' which utilizes backing vocals from guest vocalist Jena Kraus in a completely unexpected way. Rather than merely harmonizing with Hoon or punctuating his deliveries, her melodies swirl around his in a way that would be almost playful if the song wasn't in a melancholic minor key. The band favours melancholic slow grooves a little bit too much over the middle of the album with songs such as ‘The Duke’, ‘St. Andrews Fall’ and ‘New Life’ all kind of blending together. However, they manage to keep things fresh when they turn up the volume and tempo as on the rockers such as '2x4' and 'Wilt'. The riffs in these songs never really move in predictable and boring patterns and the lop-sided grooves created by guitarists Roger Stevens and Christopher Thorn showcase their Led Zeppelin influences without being overly derivative.

The band's best qualities are all condensed into 'Toes Across the Floor’ which along with the afore-mentioned ‘Mouthful of Cavities’ is the highlight of the album. It combines winding, interlocking lead guitar lines and natural harmonics with a slow groovy bass-driven rhythm which builds in tempo and volume to the wordless chorus driven by a syncopated single-note bend guitar lick and wordless chorus that is incredibly infectious and catchy. The hallmark of the band has always been the interplay between all the musicians, none of them really pushing for the spotlight but creating a sound that is greater than the sum of its relatively simple parts. While the interplay between instruments and vocals occasionally teeters on the edge of chaos, the band shows a great deal of restraint and keeps the music loose and organic sounding.

Soup is a little difficult to get into at first, especially compared with the much more straightforward debut album of the band. Blind Melon has always been a bit of an acquired taste, especially with regards to Shannon Hoon’s voice which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, the growth and musical maturity of the band shows that they have no intention of being pigeon-holed as one-hit wonders and this album is a fine artistic statement. It’s thus doubly unfortunate that Shannon Hoon died so soon after this album and prevented the band from releasing any new music for over a decade.

Highlights:
Toes Across the Floor
Mouthful of Cavities
Galaxie



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user ratings (135)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
DaveyKroktor (5)
I'd rather a band from the 90's rip of the 60's then a band from 2013. Good job Blind Melon!...

mranti (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
eggsvonsatan
June 16th 2011



1087 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. I don't think its hard to get into at all. I've come to like it more than the debut.

SitarHero
June 16th 2011



4603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well the accessibility issue is subjective. I didn't like the album much at first because it was so purposefully different from the first album, but it grew on me and has a lot more to offer than the first album.

MosesMalone
August 7th 2013



1831 Comments


I hate how much I've spurned grunge just because of the likes of Nirvana. Blind Melon kicks ass. Also great review brah.

SitarHero
August 7th 2013



4603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man! Blind Melon isn't really grunge, despite having a lot of sonic similarities to Pearl Jam and Motherlovebone. I've always thought of them as blues-influenced jam band somewhere between Phish and The Black Crowes.

AcidCaravan
December 16th 2013



163 Comments


oh I even saw this band live, back in '94...well, I must be honest, I thought and still think their debut album was a mixed bag, some great tunes but lots of fillers, but with this second album Blind Melon really pours out some amazing tunes...a great album. Too bad this time nobody actually noticed...Woah, the posthumous album "Nico" was even better than this, for me. Well, may you rest in peace, Shannon. And well, of course, never understood some of the media who labelled this band as "grunge". This was simply a psychedelic roots-rock act.

zakalwe
December 16th 2013



6584 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Right on acid.


SitarHero
December 16th 2013



4603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've never listened to Nico strangely enough. Finding this one was a stroke of luck, and Nico is a complete rarity. Maybe I should trawl through youtube and see whether I can find it.

zakalwe
December 16th 2013



6584 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Soul one from Nico, it's one of their best.

SitarHero
December 16th 2013



4603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's pleasant, but I dunno...it's not quite hooky enough for me.



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