By Chris CalarcoJuly 26, 2012
Do you remember when Soul Asylum’s Grave Dancers Union
ruled your heart? In 1992 the band had more then a moment selling over three million copies of the album and playing Bill Clinton’s inauguration. Having not released any music in six years, their new release Delayed Reaction
makes a claim for consideration amongst America’s most enduring, passionate, and steadfast units. Originally coming up in the fertile 80's Minneapolis scene with The Replacements on Twin Tone records, it's heartening to see ex-Replacement’s bassist Tommy Stinson strutting his stuff all these years later for Dave Pirner and friends following the untimely death of original bassist Karl Muller.
Pirner has always been a master of scrappy melody. He showcases these skills liberally on the album. “Gravity”, punchy and hook-heavy, kicks the album off in high style and sets the table for a number of passionate tracks like “The Streets”, “Lets All Kill Each Other” and the big bounce of “The Juice”. On “The Streets” Pirner showcases the versatile, gravely tone that adds a confrontational, even sleazy tone to the band. Faster Pussycat’s Taime Downe snarl comes to mind.
“Into The Light (Breaking Horses)” is a strong take on the midtempo, country jaunts that Pirner has highlighted through the years. He hasn’t lost a note in his voice and this sounds like a group of friends standing eye to eye having a ton of fun. The band nods to their 60's pop and doo-wop influence with “Cruel Intentions”, recalling their classic MTV Unplugged
episode when they teamed with Lulu to sing her smash hit, “To Sir With Love”. “Take Manhattan” wins the album’s most addictive hook outright: pure ear candy. This is a throwback to the moment college rock wrapped earnest woe and anger into the sweetest of melodies. Delayed Reaction
is an example of a band that is deeply in touch with what they do best. There are no curve balls here, just fire from the heart.