When Blind Melon lead singer Shannon Hoon died in October of 1995, the band had only two albums to its credit. There turned out to be quite a few leftovers and demos laying around, so the surviving bandmembers decided to pay tribute to Hoon, almost exactly one year after his death, with the rarities compilation Nico (titled after Hoon's young daughter). The 13-track collection showed that many of these songs were as strong as the ones that had appeared on their prior albums, while a portion of the proceeds from album sales were donated to the Musicians Assistants Program (MAP). Two outtakes from the Soup sessions ("Swallowed" and "Pull") prove to be standouts, as does a selection from their very first demo (the beautiful acoustic "Soul One") and one of their best all-time tracks, "Soup" (which strangely did not appear on the album of the same name). You'll also find a pair of cover tunes (Steppenwolf's "The Pusher" and John Lennon's "John Sinclair"), a few acoustic Hoon-solo compositions ("All That I Need," "Life Ain't So Shitty"), an intriguing demo idea ("Hell"), and a musical answering machine message ("Letters From a Porcupine"). A fine collection of leftovers, which unfortunately marks the official end to one of the most promising new bands of the '90s.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato