Volume 96, Issue 19
Tuesday October 1, 2002

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CD REVIEW: Dave Pirner
Soul Asylum is dead

Dave Pirner
Faces and Names
Artemis Records



Rundown: On his debut solo outing, Soul Asylum frontman Dave Pirner seems to be trying to get his groove back. The album's largest shortcoming is its lack of originality. It's an arrow aimed directly at the middle of the road and the album strikes its target. In short, it's way too safe. You'll have to remind yourself that this is the same guy who brought thousands of teenagers to their pubescent limits (i.e. got them to mosh like lunatics) with "Somebody to Shove."

Key Tracks: Faces and Names is full of laid-back grooves and funky organ licks (some of them dropped by Billy Preston himself). These elements, however, are not the problem. Pirner's singing is relatively unchanged from his Soul Asylum work – raspy and strained – but it doesn't seem to mesh with his attempt at being soulful. His phrasing doesn't work at all and neither do his lyrics for that matter, which may be the most excruciating part of this album. Tracks "364" and "Tea" are bearable, though.

Sounds Like: Everything else on FM 96. It's a simple fact of life that everyone grows up and there's always something to be said for maturity. At the same time, there's a lot more to be said for conviction – something Pirner simply lacks.

–Gavin Kistner

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2002 THE GAZETTE