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Boomkat Product Review:
Back in the days of grunge, Screaming Trees were always ‘the’ band. You can keep your Pearl Jams, your Soundgardens and even Nirvana, Screaming Trees were unsurpassed, their albums were a revelation and seemed to sidestep all the sh*t that went hand in hand with the ugly grunge movement. Of course this was maybe down to the fact that the band never really achieved any kind of mainstream acceptance, although they were regularly hailed by critics as being the next best thing to spending a night with a supermodel (I seem to remember ‘Dust’ scoring a perfect 10 in the NME…) the world never truly grabbed hold of their output. Maybe it was just ‘too’ good for the mainstream though, maybe they were the band that Kurt Cobain always wanted Nirvana to be – loved by the few, misunderstood by the masses. ‘Clairvoyance’ sees Mark Lanegan’s boys in their earliest stages – the band were formed back in 1985 and this was the first full-length they produced, showing their blend of pop and punk, and hinting at future glory. It might not be as essential as the later albums but it shows exactly where they were coming from – their roots and their early influences, from hardcore to 60s pop and this isn’t a document we have for many of the other key grunge acts of the early 90s. Raw and unrestrained, this also sees Lanegan and the Conners’ without the benefits of glossy studio production, grunge in its purest form if you like, and to hear that with the benefit of hindsight is revelatory. One for the fans then, but if you’re looking to dig into a band who for me stood as the pinnacle of a movement, then this would be the first stepping stone. Awesome.