It's been four years since the last Screaming Trees CD, Sweet Oblivion. Aside from a few songs on movie soundtracks, they've been fairly idle. The band displays several new musical influences on Dust, which you can hear as soon as you put on the CD. Benmont Tench (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) plays keyboards on eight of the disc's ten songs. Several tracks have an "eastern" sound to them; similar to what Robert Plant and Jimmy Page have been doing lately. The band makes use of sitars & harmoniums on much of the new material.

The sitar intro of "Halo of Ashes" starts off the CD, followed by the first single, "All I Know". If you haven't heard this one on the radio yet, you will soon. There's a great hook on the chorus. "Look at You" is another good track. "Dying Days" features a guitar solo by Mike McCready (Pearl Jam). "Make My Mind" is of those songs that you'll swear you've heard somewhere before. On the chorus of "Traveler", the Trees sound like a hybrid of late 60's David Bowie and The Moody Blues. Quite a change from the early Sub Pop days. I'm not saying the band is turning adult contemporary or anything. They still rock.

Screaming Trees could have easily released Sweet Oblivion part two. Instead, they decided to experiment a bit. They broadened their musical horizons, and are a more interesting band because of it. Dust is sure to win new fans for the band, and make the old ones happy too.

© 1996 Steve Marshall