Top critical review
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Not groundbreaking but still a good record
on 22 November 2012
Being an old fan of Soundgarden I wasn't expecting anything too earth-shattering from King Animal - at this point in their career, after Chris Cornell's solo projects, the band's reunion smacked of opportunism and the sweet smell of dollar bills.
My reservations were partly justified in that King Animal isn't going to be a milestone album; it's not Badmotorfinger or Superunknown. However, after repeat listens I have come to appreciate some of these new songs and overall I think this is a good album.
'Been Away Too Long' and 'Non-State Actor' are the obvious singles; 'By Crooked Steps' has a very interisting rhythm (I'm not a musician so I'm afraid I don't have the technical terms for this!). 'Bones of Birds' sounds as beautifully fragile as the content of the lyrics, and 'Taree' has a big sound that says 'old Soundgarden' all over.
My absolute favourite track is 'Black Saturday', which starts acoustically and then soars; equally, 'Halfway There' offers poignant lyrics and a melodic vehicle for Chris Cornell's still truly amazing voice. 'Rowing' at the end has somewhat of a tribal feel to it, and strangely reminds me of Temple of the Dog's 'Wooden Jesus'.
Ok, so this is not the angriest, hardest, grungiest of records, but it's still pretty good. Compared to Pearl Jam's recent output, it's infinitely more interesting. Now, if only we could bring Layne Staley back and have a new AiC album with him...