Stone Temple Pilots Unplug for Poignant, Atmospheric Perdida
Grunge veterans deal with pain of loss and experiment with new sounds on new LP
Things have never been easy for Stone Temple Pilots. Throughout the band’s tumultuous career, STP has somehow managed to persevere, overcoming the hurdles of addiction and copyright litigation and later, the deaths of frontmen Scott Weiland and Chester Bennington. On Perdida, their new acoustic album, STP proves why they’ve had such staying power throughout their career.
Perdida—STP’s second release with singer Jeff Gutt—contains 10 diverse, resplendent acoustic cuts boasting catchy hooks reminiscent of the band’s 1994 MTV Unplugged session, in particular, their cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Dancing Days.”
Much of the lyricism on Perdida—which is Spanish for “loss”—revolves around eroded relationships, be it with lovers or friends, and the pain of death. Unlike Journey singer Arnel Pineda, whose voice is basically a parroting of Steve Perry’s, Gutt only faintly resembles Weiland on Perdida. In a way, though, that feels respectful.
The sullen-sounding record opens with the straight-forward acoustic rocker “Fare Thee Well” before shifting to “Three Wishes,” which is powered by Dean DeLeo’s enchanting guitar work. The album takes a bit of a Spanish turn on the title track—a sweet, somehow familiar song that features violin and viola.
“I Didn’t Know the Time” is one of the Perdida’s standouts. It is gorgeous and ends with a tantalizing flute solo that’d make even Ron Burgundy proud. The flute —along with an alto saxophone—on “Years,” STP’s first track featuring Robert DeLeo’s more-than-capable lead vocals. The song has an almost ‘60s lounge vibe to it: think Burt Bacharach with acoustic guitars.
Gutt’s voice shines on that song and “Miles Away” as well. It is a beguiling song featuring bassist Robert DeLeo on Marxophone—which, along with the violin, complements Eric Kretz’s percussive prowess nicely.
“You Found Yourself While Losing Your Heart” sounds like it could’ve been an outtake from the Purple writing sessions. It’s quintessential STP, with stellar performances from every member, with all of it coming together to create something timeless.
With shifting moods, pretty pianos, Italian-sounding guitar finessing, Gutt’s imposing voice, and atmospheric violins, album closer “Sunburst” comes through the speakers and envelopes the listener, taking them on a journey across layered soundscapes.
This could be the start of a new career path for STP, whose audience is getting older with them. What you get on Perdida is a band that as they get comfortable with another new singer, is pumping out songs that are more reflective of who they are today.