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Alice in Chains - Sap EP (1992)
Released in 1992, Alice in Chains' second release on Columbia and first EP was only supposed to be a throw-away type album of a few acoustic ballads, but turned into a musical bridge between 1990's Facelift, which was a very energetic debut, however, the songwriting and music was not yet developed, and 1992's Dirt, the band's magnum opus which showcased the band at their artistic peak. The general mood of the album is a somber one, uncovering the band's softer, more meloncholy side, and features some classic Alice in Chains tunes. As underrated as it gets, Sap has an amazing feeling to it that can never be duplicated. Not quite as depressing as Dirt but not as uplifting as Jar of Flies, Sap served to show everyone that they were capable of writing beautiful songs without skimping on their signature sound.
Track by Track Review
Brother - Quiet acoustic intro, sweet vocal harmonizing between Layne & Jerry, with a sitar-sounding guitar part to start the song. The verse features Jerry's vocals sung through a processor and builds up into the chorus, which is beautiful and bruised in its own right. The solo is great, not too long or frantic, matching the pace of the song perfectly. The lyrics are a plus as well, written about a long-lost brother/friend. 4.5/5
Got Me Wrong - More fast paced than Brother, Got Me Wrong kicks off with a short chord progression and some solo guitar, then proceeds into the verse. The verse is sung softly by Layne, showcasing his vocal abilities and also features some bouncing bass courtesy of Mike Starr. The chorus explodes into distortion and the breakdown is downright brilliant, making you want to sing along. This is one of Alice in Chains' best songs and this version is the best. 5/5
Right Turn - The most beautiful song on the record. Features Chris Cornell, Mark Arm, along with Jerry & Layne's signature harmonizing, so you know the vocals are excellent. Acoustic guitar, tambourine percussion, and just before the song finishes, a nice finale with Chris. Very solid song, could have been better. 4/5
Am I Inside? - Meloncholy and scarred, the song features piano and a very depressed guitar part, with some nice vocals by Layne. The chorus picks up a bit, then the single best part on the album, the coda of "Man's beside himself! Man's below himself!" with Layne and Jerry harmonizing. Very underrated, listen to it all the way through! 4.5/5
Love Song - Stupid, pointless, but simply Alice in Chains' goofing around. Probably shouldn't have been included on the album, but it is. The song is worth listening to if you want a glimpse into the band members sense of humor. 2/5
Summary - Ranks among AIC's finest, behind only Dirt and Jar of Flies. If you're a fan of Alice in Chains, this makes a very intriguing listen, if not, it's a good introduction to their softer side.
Score - 4.25 out of 5