Uncle Anesthesia

Led by a pair of Paul Bunyanesque siblings who could beat any bully on your block in a doughnut-eating contest, these boondock-bred longhairs emerged in the mid-’80s from a town in the Twin Peaks neck of the woods, determined to reclaim late-’60s acid rock. In the state of Washington, this kind of psychedelic revisionism has proved oddly popular these past few years. But the Trees eschewed the downtrodden, Sasquatch-size sludge of such Seattle bands as Soundgarden and Mudhoney, opting instead for uplift and wanderlust. Having made all the requisite underground railroad stops (a tape and album on a local label, then four LPs on a national independent, finally a big-label EP), they’ve now been awarded their first full-length major-label album, Uncle Anesthesia. But, as in many other success stories, whatever brief excitement they once guaranteed has been lost along the way. Screaming Trees still sound pleasant enough — big ringing wah-wah roar, manly vocals earnestly excavating the wild frontier, guest howls from Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell. But they have the same problem as so many of their garage-guitar peers: Resuscitating Vietnam-era rock was this band’s only decent idea. And they’ve used it up already. C+

Uncle Anesthesia
  • Music