Blind Melon – For My Friends

After more than ten years of hiatus (the band ceased its activity in 1995, after the death of Shannon Hoon, their original singer), Blind Melon are back with a new singer and a new album.

I don’t feel like writing much today, so I’ll leave you with the usual review from amazon:

“Facing an uphill battle by coming back after 12 years (and with a new and much younger singer and frontman!) it’s kind of amazing this album isn’t the disaster it had every right to be. In fact, it’s a reason to have real hope about the band’s future. New singer Travis Warren sounds enough like Shannon Hoon that the band’s sound is still recognizable, but not so much so that he sounds like a cheap imitation. His range is similar to Hoon’s but his vocals tend to be a little rougher and perhaps a bit more structured. Not a bad thing; he may lack the wild-eyed soul which made Hoon perfect for the job, but when the songwriting really comes together on the new album, Travis’s vocals can really shine. Remember, too, that Blind Melon was always a group effort. Shannon may have been the singer but as a songwriter he was merely part of the creative process. The rest of the band proves their worth by playing their hearts out, really putting forth an outstanding musical collaboration.

This is not to say that the album is perfect. It’s actually closest in tone, probably, to the original Blind Melon album, with a few standout tracks, and a bunch of interesting but not-quite-there numbers. “Wishing Well” comes across pretty strong, as do tunes like “Father Time” (featuring a nicely evocative guitar lines) “Make a Difference” “Last Laugh” and the wonderful but atypical “Sometimes”. Other songs, (“Tumblin’ Down”, “Harmful Belly”) have some nice parts but ultimately come across as kind of meandering, without real solid pop hooks and melody. Like the first Blind Melon disc, this one tends to rely too heavily on mid-tempo Zepplin-esque rockers, and suffers for it in a way which the more diverse “Soup” and “Nico” don’t (nothing like tense, mostly acoustic “mouthful of cavities” or even weirdo cannibal ode “Skinned” to be found here). More troubling, the lyrics here are often a bit on the weak side. They can tend towards being something which Blind Melon never was before, and should never be: literal.

Still, ultimately the CD plays like the start of something really cool. If it has it’s flaws, they’re probably the result of a band overjoyed at being given a second lease on life, and still trying to shake off the rust and get back in the groove. It’s not a home run, but I think it qualifies as a solid base hit to prove to the naysayers that Blind Melon definitely deserves a second chance.”

Original Release Date: April 22, 2008

Tracklisting:

  1. For My Friends
  2. With the Right Set of Eyes
  3. Wishing Well
  4. Sometimes
  5. Tumblin’ Down
  6. Down on the Pharmacy
  7. Make a Difference
  8. Harmful Belly
  9. Last Laugh
  10. Hypnotized
  11. Father Time
  12. So High
  13. Cheetum Street
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