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Stone Temple Pilots | Perdida

The surviving trio and their latest cursed vocalist wear their losses on their sleeves.

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WHO ARE THEY? The three surviving original members of Stone Temple Pilots — for those who aren’t in the fan club, that’s guitarist Dean DeLeo, bassist (and brother) Robert DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz — along with X Factor alum Jeff Gutt, their latest in a line of seemingly cursed singers. (Original vocalist Scott Weiland battled drugs until they killed him; replacement Chester Bennington committed suicide; now Gutt has been sidelined from touring by a herniated disc. Did STP build their band on an Indigenous burial ground or something?)

WHAT IS THIS? The band’s eighth studio album, their second full-length release with Gutt and — most tellingly — an unexpected musical left turn. Instead of delivering another hit of the sinister post-grunge arena-rock they’re known for, Perdida, in keeping with its title, is an all-acoustic disc of new material inspired, informed and influenced by the losses and tragedies the band has endured in recent years.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Somewhat like you’d expect an acoustic album titled Perdida to sound like: Deep, dark, even grim at points. But to their credit, STP don’t wallow in their grief; several of these songs sound more hopeful than heartbroken. Fittingly, the arrangements and instrumentation are also uplifting, with tasteful horns and strings elegantly layered into the tracks. A few of the tracks almost rock enough to keep the album from coming off too quiet. Vocally, Gutt continues to evoke Weiland without coming off as an impersonator, while Robert DeLeo sings his first lead vocal on the reflective Years.

WHAT ARE THE MOST REVEALING LYRICS? ‘And now we’re here and after all / Who’s to blame for what we’ve lost?’

WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? In any language, it would be tough to top the handle it’s got.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? At night by yourself, unless you’re a) in the company of fellow fans who might appreciate its depth and sincerity, or b) seriously trying to bum people out.

WHAT 10 WORDS SUM IT UP? Bittersweet, hushed, sombre, reflective, regretful, tender, warm, soothing, longing, moving.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Fare Thee Well, She’s My Queen and a couple of others that almost rock hard enough to keep the whole thing from literally being too downbeat.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘If anybody has the right to be depressed, it’s these guys.’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO IT? How often do you throw your own pity parties? Or really want to?

IF THIS ALBUM WERE WEATHER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? A gentle drizzle that gives way to tentative sunlight.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? If you’re a true fan, you might want to shell out. Casual types should probably stick to the stream.