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Sponge | For All the Drugs in the World | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop

Sponge

For All the Drugs in the World (Idol)
by Katy Shea

Sponge are perhaps best remembered for writing a tribute song to Molly Ringwald in 1995 that involved a bathtub suicide, "Molly (16 Candles)." Their other '90s hit was "Plowed," a powerful pop/rock ballad that made Sponge MTV darlings and, I suppose, also set them up to disappear into the ossuary of all the other '90s Bush/STP-style bands. Their songs were wildly popular, catchy, and topical, but they never got traction. Sponge are back after a few years of hiatus with For all the Drugs in the World and show they're capable of more than derivative pop rock, attacking more complex arrangements and melodies on their third album. Opener "Treat Me Wrong" sounds like a one-off from Social Distortion, while "Sanitarium" and "Burn" have the sweet, tight pop sound of Toad the Wet Sprocket, with the welcome addition of the well-honed gritty vocals of frontman Vinnie Dombroski. Overall, they're still not achieving the traction they should. The record jumps genres in a way that's difficult to get a hold of, and it fails to hold together thematically, sonically, or otherwise. For All the Drugs in the World is an easy, enjoyable listen, but unfortunately, Sponge seems plagued by lyrical weakness and too weighed down by their failure to really commit to their own rock sound.
(www.idol-records.com)
 


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