gave Stone Temple Pilots
the comeback they were looking for, albeit a little later and a little differently than expected. Nearly a year after its release, "Sour Girl" gave the band its biggest hit in years, and it set up their fifth album, Shangri-La Dee Da
, perfectly. They seized this opportunity by turning out the same record as the time before, splitting the difference between heavy rockers and sugar-sweet psych-pop tunes. That's not a bad thing, nor is it unexpected, since they've basically been staking this same territory since Tiny Music
, yet at this point, it feels as if the Pilots
are comfortably within a musical groove, no matter how much turmoil they have privately. And, while this doesn't result in a particularly surprising record, it's not an album that's bad, either. Here, as on 4
, they're not just better on the pop tunes, they're phenomenal on the pop tunes. Regardless of their critical reputation, no rock band of their time turned out such a consistently dazzling streak of pop tunes. Sometimes, the rockers do catch hold -- "Dumb Love" provides a gripping opening, "Hollywood Bitch" has a real sense of propulsion, the dreamy "Hello It's Late" has a gentle rush of its own -- but, by this point, they don't seem as interesting as the excursions into psych-pop that gives Shangri-La Dee Da
its real core. That's nothing new, but that's not a bad thing at all.