Stone Temple Pilots
Label: Atlantic Records
After years in limbo, STP forfeit none of their knack for big bubbly hooks on their sixth album. Various tunes suggest Urge Overkill making Batman drug-pusher puns and Franz Ferdinand going country boogie -- not to mention, in "Huckleberry Crumble," a hardier '70s Aerosmith homage than Aerosmith has managed in ages, full of tongue-twisted jive-talk and chunky rolling riffs. Appropriately, "Fast As I Can" is the fastest song, and "First Kiss on Mars" is a decent Bowie rip. All in all, this is concisely crafted and encouragingly upbeat. Today's dreary radio-rock bands could still learn from these old farts.