Soundgarden have been away for sixteen years, splitting to form a bunch of bands and solo projects I’ve largely ignored. It’s all about the grunge fuelled Soundgarden for me, Black Hole Sun etched in my mind. Now they’re back and they want to remind us that they’ve been away too long by making a song about it. We know, guys!
King Animal is grunge music in 2012. That is a special thing in itself, not conforming with synth instruments or gurning out some ballads. This is how Soundgarden sounded back then, and it makes for a heavy sludge filled album. ‘Bones of Birds‘ shows they’ve still got it, with melancholy lyrics powering away under the weight of the guitars and drums, though there is nothing here which strikes as strong as their past works, a warm up more than a full on fiery revival. Each listen reveals little nuances and touches, from unconventional guitar riffs and the lyrics working their way into the brain, which make it a return worthwhile though. But once the excitement of new Soundgarden comes to an end, I can’t see it getting as many play ins as Badmotorfinger and Superunknown. Because that was grunge in its prime, not a replication sixteen years later.
An album to listen to when you’ve been away from home too long. Shopping.