If you didn’t think that Detroit’s reigning kings of rawk, Sponge, were still making fresh, relevant music then you should hand in your “rawk fan” badge now. Not only is the band still making new music, but they are making exciting music that is just as potent as their debut Rotting Pinata. Easily one of the only alt-rock bands to come out of the ’90s who still make really interesting, thought-provoking music, Sponge return with new sound on their seventh entitled Stop The Bleeding.
To ease old school listeners in, “Fade From View” is something of an amalgamation of old school industrial and their token sound from the mid-’90s. “Life’s Bitter Pills”, however, is a somber synth-laden number that really lays on the industrial/electronic influence. Then there’s “Dance Floor” which is this lush synth/piano driven song in the vein of ’80s power rockers like The Fixx or even Flock Of Seagulls (With some heavier guitar tones) and sees Sponge mainstay Vinnie Dombrowski channeling Cy Curnan at times. Following that one is the haunting mechanical thump of “What Were You Doing Outside If You Didn’t Like The Rain” which while sonically different than what’s come before fits seamlessly into the patchwork of the album.
If the first half of the record doesn’t throw you then “Time In A Bottle” which lands in the middle will definitely have you scratching your head. It’s dubstep. Sort of. It’s “Time In A Bottle”. It’s a Jim Croce cover. It’s…interesting. Then “Dare To Breathe” comes on and it’s this crazy alt-rock ballad soaked in Abba melodies and “Destroy The Boy” follows and brings fans back to Sponge rawk reality segueing out with anthemic rockers “Come In From The Rain” and “Star”.
Remember, this is a band whose first “real” single (“Neenah Menasha”) was something of a sonic maelstrom so anything presented on Stop The Bleeding shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been following Sponge since the beginning. Regardless, STB is not only an achievement unto itself but also a solid entry into the Sponge catalog and one of the best rock records of 2013.
Stop The Bleeding is available now during Sponge’s appearance on the Summerland tour. Check out where you can see them live and buy the CD here.