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Stone Temple Pilots Chart a New Course-for Brazil

April 22, 2001|STEVE HOCHMAN

Blame it on the bossa nova.

That might be the excuse you hear if Stone Temple Pilots fans don't take to some new directions that will be heard on the band's upcoming album, its first since singer Scott Weiland got control over the addiction problems that had clouded the group's career for years.

Titled "Shangri-La-Deeda" (a reference to the Malibu mansion where the band lived and recorded during the sessions), the album is due June 26.

Playing a sampling of songs, guitarist Dean DeLeo makes it clear that fans will get a healthy dose of the hard-edged rock songs for which the quartet is best known, with some new twists and particularly strong melodic developments.

One track mixes a crunchy rock riff with Weiland's Bowie-esque glam angles. Another alternates between power-pop verses somewhat reminiscent of XTC and harder choruses. A third is a big arena rocker that's almost like Cheap Trick crossed with Nine Inch Nails.

But to DeLeo, the essence of the band's growth may be found in some softer songs. While the group explored acoustic textures with "Sour Girl," the atypical song that proved the resurrecting hit from the last album, 1999's "No. 4," some songs from the new sessions represent a long-held desire by him and his brother, bassist Robert DeLeo, to display their devotion to bossa nova composer Antonio Carlos Jobim.

"We made the record I think we've been wanting to make for a long time," says Dean DeLeo. "We got into areas we always wanted to tap into but were wary about, because I don't think our fans and even our label [Atlantic Records] were willing to allow us to go there."

Two songs, "About a Fool" and "Bipolar Bear," not only incorporate a sort of bossa nova-based lilt, but also carry a sense of introspection in Weiland's lyrics that fans will certainly analyze for insights into his experiences and mind-set.

Further insights into the band may also come from a documentary about the making of the album. DeLeo says the entire experience was filmed, though no decision has been made about whether to release it.

"We got some really nice stuff and some pretty interesting situations, home-style situations with no guard up," he says. "For us aside from Scott, we've had pretty private lives and fans haven't gotten to see much of us over the last 10 years. Or maybe it's just something to show the grandkids."

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