May 22, 2019

Soul Asylum - Say What You Will, Clarence... Karl Sold The Truck (1984)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Punk Rock
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© 1984-1988 Twin/Tone Records
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming
Soul Asylum began life as a Minneapolis hardcore band called Loud Fast Rules, and they were still evolving out of the strict confines of Midwest HC when they cut their first EP, 1984's Say What You Will...Everything Can Happen. At this point, the band had clearly moved past the strict four-four stomp of their earliest days, but they were still figuring out how to work their hard rock influences into the music and create a sound that was their own. In addition, drummer Pat Morley was a poor fit for their attack, and "Religiavision" is an overlong and ponderous attack on every punk's favorite subject, organized religion. (Soul Asylum had no business recording five-minute tunes at this point, especially that one.) Too much of Say What You Will... suggests a curious fusion of arty angularity, punk rock howling, and Replacements-style purposeful sloppiness. Soul Asylum had yet to work out who they were and what they wanted to do when they cut Say What You Will..., but there are clear signs of the band they would become in these songs. Dave Pirner was learning how to wear his heart on his sleeve on the impassioned "Stranger," and if "Sick of That Song" is the most purely punk tune here, it also showed he had a perspective that set him apart from the average rock dude of the day. And Pirner and Dan Murphy were a very promising guitar combination, generating an impressive amount of firepower even when they weren't quite certain of where to aim it. Say What You Will... was clearly the work of a band growing up in public, and while it has its charms, from a musical standpoint it's the group's clunkiest and least satisfying work. Thankfully, they had nowhere to go from here but up.

tags: soul asylum, say what you will clarence karl sold the truck, 1984, flac,

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