Alice Donut

Pure Acid Park

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Alice Donut's final album, 1995's Pure Acid Park, is regarded by some as a crass sell-out attempt along the lines of the Butthole Surfers' Electriclarryland, or the Meat Puppets' Too High to Die. The argument does have some validity -- the album was, after all, produced by Martin Bisi shortly after he helped lead Soul Asylum to their belated commercial breakthrough by sanding down their rough edges and glossing up the sound -- but while there is undeniably some sanding and glossing evident here, as opposed to raw early albums like Bucketfulls of Sickness and Horror in an Otherwise Meaningless Life, that's still not saying much: This is still fairly raw and noisy. In what's either a brilliant flash of perverse irony or plain uncomprehending stupidity -- and it's honestly impossible to tell which -- the album's most immediately accessible and downright commercial (in 1995's alternative heyday, that is) song is "Shining Path," a textbook example of grunge-era loud-soft dynamic shifts and Seattle-style stomp married to a lyric sneering at a former idol for being a sell-out hack. The album's definite low point, however, is a pointless and prettified cover of Roky Erickson's "I Walked With a Zombie" that not only can't touch the original, it's not even as good as R.E.M.'s limp cover from about five years before.

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