Soul Asylum are too smart to be heavy metal, too dumb to get enough good songs together to put out a great album, too sexy to ever be without fans, and too great live to ever be forgotten. The Minneapolis foursome may be the last great rock 'n' roll touring band: their records have gotten better, but they're never anything to write home about--the stage will always be their primary piece of work. Dave Pirner and Dan Murphy's trademarked dual vocals and the head-over-heels rhythm section of Karl Mueller and Grant Young are simply thrilling to watch; when the song's right--my all-time favorite is Murphy's "Cartoon," but I'll take the new "Spinnin'" or "Easy Street"--you feel like they should be made a national monument or something. Their new album is called Soul Asylum and the Horse They Rode In On; like their last, there's a celebrity producer (Steve Jordan, Keith Richards's sidekick on Talk Is Cheap). It's recorded live and sounds it, which is fine; the band's recorded clarity is always improving, but as usual there's way too many guitar assaults and not enough melodies to hang 'em on. Still, "We 3" and the above-mentioned "Spinnin'" are Pirner's finest moments yet, and there's something admirable about their hard-fought, six-year evolution; it's not easy being the fourth-best band from Minneapolis. The very cool Run Westy Run opens. Saturday, 7:30 PM, Cabaret Metro, 3730 N. Clark. 549-0203.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Daniel Corrigan.