2012 seems to be the year of reunions. This year, dozens of nearly forgotten bands across every genre decided to dust off their instruments and hit the ol’ stage again, whether it be for money, nostalgia value, or simply for the fans. Some, such as Van Halen and more recently Soundgarden, have been commercially successful. Others flew under the radar, which is the case of Soul Asylum’s latest effort, “Delayed Reaction.” A shame, since it is easily one of the best albums of the year.
“Delayed Reaction” essentially turns your CD player into a time machine. The first track “Gravity” immediately sends waves of 90’s nostalgia through your body, and you start reminiscing about the times before iPods, cell phones, and dubstep. As the album progresses you also take note of its versatility. From the low key, lounge-like feel of “Cruel Intentions,” to the infectious mid-tempo singalong “The Streets,” to the sickly-sweet high energy “Let’s All Kill Each Other,” every track brings with it a brand new flavor as well as a feeling of familiarity.
“Delayed Reaction” is a fitting title, as it feels like something that was recorded in ’92 and put on a shelf for 20 years. Some may call it dated, but like it or not, it’s a solid release with catchy songs, no frills, and no apologies. This album is a pair of ripped Levi’s and a flannel shirt that hasn’t been washed since the Clinton administration. Simply, it’s everything you loved about 90’s grungepop with the studio quality and production values of today.
From start to finish, Soul Asylum reminds their audience that real music with substance and purpose still exists, as long as you know where to look. So grab a bottle of crazy horse, light up a Marlboro red, and trade in Minaj and Bieber for some good old-fashioned rock and roll.