Picks and Pans Review: Grave Dancers Union

updated 12/07/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/07/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

Soul Asylum

Is there a Minneapolis sound? Not really, but Prince's home base does boast some whip-cracking bands—the Jayhawks (see above) and Soul Asylum. Though they've been campus-concert heroes for almost a decade, the knock against the foursome has been that they pale on record. No more. It took them seven albums, but Soul Asylum finally delivers here. Lead singer and songwriter Dave Pirner sets the manic-gleam mood on the opener, "Somebody to Shove," confessing avidly, "I'm wailing by the phone/ Wailing for you to call me up and tell me I'm not alone/ I want somebody to shove...I want somebody to shove me."

Soul Asylum ranges from trash-metal reminiscent of Hüsker Dü and the Replacements to some unexpected (but just as good) slow stuff à la George Thorogood. Producer Michael Beinhorn (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Violent Femmes) and Booker T. Jones of Booker T. and the MG's fame, who plays organ on half the tracks, give the band a studio sheen without losing the vivacity of the stage. Listening to Grave Dancers Union is almost like being there—except that nobody will slosh beer on your boots. (Columbia)

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