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ABOVE BY MAD SEASON (CD)

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ABOVE BY MAD SEASON (CD)

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Think of the one-shot Seattle supergroup Mad Season as the grunge version of sober living. Guitarist Mike McCready, best known as the main six-string slinger in Pearl Jam, met bassist John Baker Saunders while in rehab, and the two paired with...
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SKU: UBM887254733928

ABOVE BY MAD SEASON (CD)

Think of the one-shot Seattle supergroup Mad Season as the grunge version of sober living. Guitarist Mike McCready, best known as the main six-string slinger in Pearl Jam, met bassist John Baker Saunders while in rehab, and the two paired with Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin and Alice in Chains' vocalist Layne Staley, partially in hopes of steering the singer onto the path of the straight and narrow. Ultimat ely, the plan didn't pan out but for a brief while, the quartet -- who adopted the name Mad Season -- did have their moment of clarity, captured on the 1995 album Above. There was a single issued to modern rock radio -- "River of Deceit" -- but this record down played easy hooks and melody in favor of churning introspection and slow vamps that occasionally flirt with blues (the never-ending 12-bar "Artificial Red," balanced by the distorto riffs of "I Don't Everything") but usually conjure nothing more than the dank sludge of Seattle. Mad Season isn't quite mired in the darkest areas of grunge -- they're clever enough to let a saxophonist lend color to "Long Gone Day" -- but the lack of melodic ism is a bit of a drag over the long haul, turning Above into a bit of heavy mood music. In a sense, it's the id of Seattle run rampant: all the bands involved, outside of Saunders' Walk abouts and Martin's Trees (who were nevertheless considerably more popular than Saunders' group), enjoyed commercial success in 1995, so they could have gotten away with anything and, in a sense, they did, letting a major release this turgid bit of soul-baring heavy rock. McCready gets plenty of room for his elliptical guitar, the players have space to dig into their minor-key vamps, Staley essays his only set of completely original lyrics, but the whole thing feels kind of inert and indulgent, which may be appropriate for a band treating rock & roll as therapy. [The 2013 Deluxe Edition of Above is loaded with bonus material, beginning with four tracks from Mad Season's unfinished 1999

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