Of all the '90s alt-rockers to hit the comeback trail a decade later, Blind Melon are at once the most and least likely to mount a return. Their end came suddenly when lead singer/songwriter Shannon Hoon died of a drug overdose in October 1995, just a few months after their sophomore effort, Soup, so it seemed like they had a great deal of unfinished business. Unfortunately, much of that unfinished business revolved around Hoon, who was the driving force behind the band, so it seemed like they couldn't continue -- and so they didn't, fading away after putting out a few posthumous albums that tied up some, but not all, loose ends. About a decade later, the group rumbled back to life, defying all odds and finding in singer Travis Warren a dead ringer for Shannon Hoon who nevertheless doesn't seem to be aping the late singer's idiosyncratic quirks. Thanks in part to Warren, the group's 2008 comeback, For My Friends, feels like a continuation of the band's '90s work, reflecting the elastic, loping Blind Melon more than the neo-psychedelic excursions of Soup. To a certain extent, this sound -- lean and rootsy, even when the amps are cranked -- gives Blind Melon a passing jam band feel, and that could very well be where the band might be most comfortable in 2008, as there's a sense that the bandmembers just want to get out and play, so they're reconnecting to the roots that led to their 1992 debut. As such, there's not a feeling of forward movement on For My Friends, but that's intentional: this was designed as a reboot of Blind Melon, something for themselves, their fans and friends, and while it won't win them any new listeners -- everything that the fans loved about the band is here in spades, as is everything that irritated the group's detractors -- it surely does find the band picking up where it left off.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine