May 14, 2019

Soul Asylum - And The Horse They Rode In On (1990)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
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© 1990 A&M, Twin/Tone Records
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming
1988's Hang Time proved that Soul Asylum could make their hair-swinging punk-hard rock hybrid work like a charm in the studio, but their greatest strength was as still a live act, and for 1990s And the Horse They Rode in On, producer Steve Jordan hit upon a seemingly inspired idea -- instead of going into the studio, take a mobile studio to a soundstage and let the band wail like they do on-stage. In theory, this was a great notion, but in practice And the Horse They Rode in On lacked the punch and tough, guitar-based attack of Hang Time. Part of the blame seems to go to engineer Joe Blaney, who failed to capture the snap of Grant Young's drums and the crunch of Dan Murphy's guitars, generating a soft-focus image where a sharper sense of detail was called for. Just as significantly, Soul Asylum (and in particular principle songwriter Dave Pirner) were evolving on these sessions, moving away from their sloppy but fierce rapport into something more contemplative, and while they would find what they were looking for on their next album, Grave Dancer's Union, here they fall a bit short of the mark. And the Horse They Rode in On is hit and miss, but when it does hit it's impressive stuff, especially the dizzying opening cut "Spinnin," the tough but funky " "Something out of Nothing," the impassioned tale of a city in decline on "Nice Guys (Don't Get Paid)," and the almost wistful "Gullible's Travels." And the Horse They Rode in On is often bad-mouthed by Soul Asylum fans, but the moments where it comes together nearly outnumbers the times when it doesn't, and its an album full of brave experiments that's well worth a listen.

tags: soul asylum, and the horse they rode in on, 1990, flac,