Screaming Trees: Mark Lanegan (vocals); Gary Lee Conner (guitar); Van Conner (bass); Barrett Martin (drums).
Recorded at Baby Monster and Sear Sound, New York.
The commercial breakthrough for this Seattle foursome came with their song "Nearly Lost You" from the soundtrack to the 1992 Cameron Crowe film SINGLES. That song, included here, is a powerful slice of dramatic rock that's only vaguely related to the grunge scene into which the Screaming Trees were unfairly lumped.
While the group's major-label debut, 1991's UNCLE ANESTHESIA, had its metallic elements, the band mostly favored a '70s-style brand of neo-psychedelia more indebted to TOMMY-era Who and other FM radio stalwarts than to punkier grunge forebears. Mark Lanegan's classic-rock voice and Gary Connor's thunderous guitar give this album a much more commercially viable sound than the group's earlier albums. SWEET OBLIVION is a minor classic of grunge-era commercial alternative music.
Spin (10/92, p.106) - Highly Recommended - "...Screaming Trees use tools forged in the heat of early-70s post-psychedelia to forge songs with new-sounding structures...powerful, poignant, and bittersweet..."
Entertainment Weekly (10/9/92, p.58) - "...Screaming Trees aren't just another grunge band. The Trees' deep roots suggest more a classic rock band, with traces of Neil Young, '70s Southern rock, psychedelic pop, and garage punk..." - Rating: B+
Q (10/92, p.90) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...they recall the more belligerent outpourings of Deep Purple, Sabbath and even Blue Oyster Cult...there is glory in gargantuan sonic gestures..."
Village Voice (3/9/93, p.80) - "...these Northwest veterans have started roiling and hooking and knocking 'em dead at the very moment they seemed ready to expire of corporate torpor..." - Rating: B+
NME (Magazine) (10/3/92, p.37) - 8 - Very Good - "...the sound of a spirit renewing itself...their big triumph...flows with the happy tension of a band that's corralled its scattered energies, shed a few skins and put to work the huge buzz that's come with their new lease on life..."