Shangri-LA DEE DA

With each recording, STP inch closer to being full-on swaggering headbangers and further away from the grunge pose they initially struck.

With each recording, STP inch closer to being full-on swaggering headbangers and further away from the grunge pose they initially struck. Shangri-LA DEE DA is rife with the crunchy guitars and pounding backbeats of which vintage heavy-metal albums were made. Ever-charismatic front man Scott Weiland is the primary element that keeps STP from permanently crossing that stylistic line, as he dons various personas, ranging from Robert Plant-influenced belter to glam-rock strutter. All the while, Weiland wisely emphasizes the unabashedly pop melodies that underline each tune—adding a sweet falsetto lilt to the radio-ready strummer "Hello It's Late" and softening his snarl in all the right places on the anthemic "Hollywood Bitch." Beyond the set's rattle and hum are sharper, more sincere lyrics than previously offered by Weiland. He no longer appears to be self-consciously searching for unnecessarily obtuse ways to tell the boy-meets/loses-girl tale; he's simply laying it on the line. The clarity, like the amped-up guitars, suits STP well.—LF
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