ALBUM REVIEW: Stone Temple Pilots – Perdida

Release Date: February 7th 2020
Label: Rhino Entertainment


‘Perdida’ is a remarkably unique album, and this is clear from the outset. Marking the eighth full-length from the 90s grunge icons; it shouldn’t be easy to forget just how huge Stone Temple Pilots were back in their heyday.

After a tumultuous period marred with professional and personal struggles, and the untimely passing of two former vocalists, a new sense of calm and focus has been discovered.

On their second offering with new frontman, Jeff Gutt, the band take the mother of all left turns, deep into folk territory. This entire record is a far cry from the Stone Temple Pilots of old. The fuzzy riffs are replaced with rich, pristine acoustic guitar melodies, aided with everything from flute to Marxophone. One would be forgiven for thinking this a completely different band upon first listen, and, in a sense, it is.

Figuratively speaking, this isn’t the same volatile group of individuals who delivered the hefty and angsty songs found on ‘Core’ and ‘Purple’. This is, frankly, a beautiful collection of gentle, sincere, and delicately crafted country/folk ballads from a more world worn and weathered group of artists. There’s a maturity and clarity in this radical departure that elevates the tracks to some of the most genuine offerings from the band in several years.

The approach is incredibly nuanced with subtle uses of violin, cello, and saxophone adding several layers to the proceedings. With the major resurgence of folk music over the years, it’s quite impressive how successfully ‘Perdida’ manages to evade the pitfalls of the modern takes on the genre. Everything sounds vintage and rustic, while never coming off as clichéd or pandering.

Where the album falters is in its seamlessness. The songs are so gentle and similarly paced that they can easily blend into one another when not devoting full attention. Gutt‘s vocals are airy and pleasing with relatable, simple lyrics that don’t necessarily stir too deep of any emotion. There’s a slight emphasis on the new direction in sound; the brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo taking centre stage as the multi-instrumental backbone of the record, and the lyrical depth is left as somewhat of an afterthought.

These are, however, minor gripes on an otherwise, expertly crafted and thoroughly enjoyable release from a revitalised group with evidently much more still under their sleeves.