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Flashback Album Review: Alice in Chains - Sap
On February 4, 1992, Alice in Chains released the EP “Sap”. I will use the term “release” loosely because the EP was dropped with little to no promotion or fanfare. The EP was put under the “Alice in Chains” name card in record shops with the hope that fans would discover it organically.
So in Honor of the anniversary “Sap’s” release here is my track-by-track review.
“Brother” is the EP opener and creates a relaxed atmosphere as the intro builds into the verse. Jerry Cantrell assumes the lead vocals on the track, which was suggested by Layne Staley during recording sessions.
The song provides Cantrell with an opportunity to highlight his strong vocal delivery which set the table for Cantrell’s future work as a solo artist and “Voice” of the group following the death of Staley.
Lyrically the song is about a family rebuilding itself after a prolonged period of strife and some of the damage that can remain in the wake of trauma.
Heavy lyrics aside, It is a great song to sit back, light some candles and indulge in your drink of choice with.
“Got Me Wrong”
“Wrong” is one of the most popular songs in “AIC’s” catalogue.
Since its initial release and inclusion in Kevin Smith’s cult classic movie “Clerks” the song has earned its place in the lexicon of pop culture. “Wrong” reached number 7 on Billboard Mainstream Rocks chart and number 22 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart respectively and still receives airplay on rock radio.
This is my favorite track on the EP, and proved to the world that “AIC” could illicit strong connections with striped back and “lighter” instrumentation as it could with their heavier counterparts.
I know EP songs tend not to be as polished as full-length releases and are not meant to be a cohesive collection of songs but “Turn” seems to be the song that is most out of place.
The song features backing vocals from Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) and Mike Arm (Mudhoney) making up the credited supergroup “Alice Mudgarden” as noted in the liner notes.
Their inclusion on the song is not enough to salvage the performance for me, leaving “Turn” my least favorite song on the EP.
My biggest issue is that the song lacks emotional balance. This is on full display near the end of the song when Cornell injects the strongest vocals on the EP and provides some much-needed energy to an otherwise slow track.
“Am I Inside?”
“Inside” is the longest song on the EP with a runtime of just over five minutes. It is a haunting closer that features odd-sounding vocal harmonies, recurring piano melodies and a deep philosophical question in the lyrics “Am I inside myself?.”
The song does drift into repetitive territory, but it does its job sufficiently and closes the EP out nicely.
“Love Song” (Hidden Track)
There is really nothing I could write that would give “Love ” the justice it deserves. The band switched instruments for this track and recorded the mayhem that followed. You will need to give this one a listen for yourself to take it all in.
While clocking in at just over 20 minutes “Sap” laid the foundation for “AIC” songs that appeared on later releases with “Heaven Beside You”, “Angry Chair”, and “Over Now” to name a few.
It was a bold risk that paid huge dividends for the band which helped differentiate themselves from the other bands that were active in the Seattle “Grunge” scene at the time.
“Sap” would not be the last time the band gave fans a swerve with stellar results. “Alice in Chains” ability to challenge themselves and the audience has factored into their longevity and is one of their most endearing qualities.
Until next time, play it loud friends!