Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Review #56: Screaming Trees - Other Worlds (EP) (1985)


Year: 1985
Genre: Alternative Rock, Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Post-Punk
Label: Velvetone Records
Tracks: 6
Length: 14 Minutes (Short)
Style: Happy/Mysterious
My Rating: 6/8

Screaming Trees were an alternative rock band that existed during the 1980s and 1990s. They are remembered as being one of the earliest grunge bands, and they enjoyed some mainstream success during the early '90s when grunge was popular. However, the band was playing psychedelic post-punk with a tinge of new-wave when they first started. This tape (sometimes considered their demo tape) along with their first LP document this initial sound. It's pretty hard to find, but the contents can be found in the "SST Years Anthology".

1. Like I Said
Begins with a single pound of the drum and the songs starts pretty abruptly. Very upbeat melody and bassline. Lots of weird, twangy guitar-leads floating around. Really fun, fast-paced song.

2. Pictures In My Mind
A song about paranoia and insanity. Makes use of a synth organ.

3. The Turning
This song was put on the "Clairvoyance" LP from a year later. More synth organ. Love the guitar solo on this one. Fits really well with the bassline.

4. Other Worlds
The title-sake track, I guess. This one is interesting 'cause the riff is actually being played in reverse. Everything else is forwards, though. Trippy lyrics (like most of the songs on the tape).

5. Barriers
Best song on the record. Starts with some really calm but powerful strokes of the 'lectric guitar which are soon accompanied by the bass, drums, and Mark Lanegan's vocals. You can hear a lot of twang in his singing in this one. The choruses are really neat, too. The more clicky guitar switches to a more rhythm-oriented sound in that section of the song. One of the slightly non-fast on the EP (but still faster than grunge).

6. Now Your Mind Is Next to Me
Neat synth-solo in the beginning. Kinda fast song. There seems to be some sort of alternation between guitar sounds -- some parts sound like complete inverses of eachother. Vaguely apocalyptic lyrics. But... t. That iz the end.

This album sounds nothing like grunge, so I don't know why anyone would classify it as such. Early Screaming Trees kinda belongs on a category of its own. I actually felt a strong new-wave flavor from this record. The album that followed used more slow tempos, which were probably influenced by the brand new Seattle sound which was existent by that point. But this record is a fast-paced, happier-sounding spectacle, with bizarre lyrics that seem to blur the line between mental insanity and 1980s political issues. If you like this kind of stuff, you'll love this, but if you can only stomach heavy music, then you likely won't enjoy this a ton. Me? I enjoyed it.

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