A day ahead of its released, Stone Temple Pilots’ self-titled comeback album has leaked, Has It Leaked reports. It is the band’s first album with third singer Jeff Gutt, and their first full length album since their last self-titled album in 2010 with Scott Weiland. The album comes after STP’s tragic last few years which saw the deaths of Scott Weiland and Chester Bennington.
Losing two singers in such a short period is really one of the biggest tragedies in rock history, to see STP come back with a new album with some really triumphant sounding songs is powerful especially on the first few listens. Scott and Chester’s spirits are definitely felt throughout the album.
The album kicks off with “Middle of Nowhere.” Jeff Gutt’s vocals here are very reminiscent of Scott Weiland’s Velvet Revolver vocals on tracks like “Sucker Train Blues” and “Let It Roll.” He totally nails it, it’s great to have a level of familiarity on the first song. Instrumentally the riff is classic DeLeos, with shades of Tiny Music, “Fast As I Can” off of the last self-titled STP album, and Talk Show’s “Hello Hello.”
“Guilty” features a great drum beat by Eric Kretz, this is definitely the most Zeppeliny song on the record instrumentally. Gutt again channels Weiland, and he does it in a way that doesn’t sound like he’s copying him, he’s staying true to the STP vocal sound. There are some similarities to material from High Rise here as well.
Everybody has heard “Meadow” by now, the album’s the lead single. I wasn’t initially blown away by this when it was released, it’s grown on me over time, and Gutt’s hooky melody is definitely the highlight of a song. While many had fears that STP working with another singer could possibly hurt new material and bring down the DeLeos’ music, he undoubtably elevates “Meadow.”
“Just a Little Lie” is by the numbers STP, featuring a sludgy riff, with some shades of “Sin” and “Hazy Daze.”
“Six Eight” is another heavy track like “Just A Little Lie” but it has a lot more energy, featuring one of Dean DeLeo’s best guitar solos on the album.
“Thought She’d Be Mine” is one of the poppiest songs on the album, and it may be the best track on Stone Temple Pilots (2018). It would feel right at home on Shangri La Dee Da. This definitely sounds like a future single, and with additional listens, it could become an essential STP song. For fans waiting for the DeLeos to bring back their more ethereal style of playing that was absent on 2010’s Stone Temple Pilots and High Rise, this will be right up your ally. There is an instrumental mid section and outro that really pushes STP into territory they have never gone before.
I’ve never really gotten into “Roll Me Under,” it leans too generic rock, though it seems like a fun live song. Especially after hearing “Thought She’d Be Mine” it’s crazy to think that STP released this as a single when there are several songs on here that totally blow it away.
“Never Enough” has a Doors “Roadhouse Blues” verse riff and vocal delivery, but the song gets a lot more interesting when it hits its dreamy chorus that gets Clash punky during its latter part.
“The Art of Letting Go” is another song in the vein of “Thought She’d Be Mine,” with the lush DeLeos sound that die hard fans love. It brings back memories of tracks like “Adhesive” and “And So I Know” off Tiny Music. The chorus is one of Gutt’s best moments on the album, and it’s hard not to think of Scott Weiland and Chester Bennington when listening to its lyrics. Robert DeLeo’s standout bassline on the album is on this track.
“Finest Hour” is a straight up tribute to Weiland and Bennington, with some of the album’s best lyrics. Its placement right after “The Art of Letting Go” is perfect. ‘You never said goodbye/you left a void that’s like no other/I know because it’s true.’ With STP being such a huge part of my life since I was a kid, this was definitely an emotional song to listen to due to the story it tells.
Jeff Gutt sings, ‘I won’t forget that smile/it was contagious like no other/I know because it’s true/I hold our precious time up to the sky I miss you brother/I hope you know it’s true.’
Gutt has some Layne Staley moments on “Good Shoes” which has an Aerosmithesque riff.
“Red & Blues” is a very laidback song. It definitely sounds like it will be a grower.
Overall this is a worthy addition to the STP catalog. It obviously is not STP with Scott Weiland, but it’s everything fans could hope for. Jeff Gutt is definitely the best singer the DeLeo brothers have worked with when it comes to fitting in with their songwriting. While Dave Coutts (Talk Show), Richard Patrick (Army of Anyone), and Chester Bennington (STP with Chester Bennington) were great singers, but Gutt has the best chemistry with them on a songwriting level they’ve had besides Weiland.
There are some truly emotional songs like “Thought She’d Be Mine,” “Finest Hour,” and “The Art of Letting Go” that are definitely the standouts on the album. There are also some fun rockers like “Middle of Nowhere,” “Guilty,” “Never Enough” and “Good Shoes.” Some tracks aren’t on the level of the standouts, but for a band that have been through everything STP has been through, this album is a home run.