After a long career with independent label SST, the Screaming Trees arrived at Epic Records with little fanfare (and would leave in much the same way) with 1991's Uncle Anesthesia. Produced by Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and metal specialist Terry Date, the album lurches to its feet on the military shuffle of "Beyond This Horizon." Despite offering a few glimpses of the group's punkier side -- "Story of Her Fate," "Alice Said," "Time for Light" -- most of the material emphasizes the Trees' mellower inclinations. As its title and disturbing, Alice in Wonderland-inspired cover artwork would suggest, the album also finds the band delving deeper and deeper into their psychedelic tendencies. Gary Lee Conner's lysergic guitar textures gently frame Mark Lanegan's rough, whiskey-drenched vocals on such highlights as the title track, "Caught Between," and "Something About Today." And while "Bed of Roses" and "Lay Your Head Down" betray a strong R.E.M. influence, songs like "Before We Arise," "Closer," and "Disappearing" (with its Mexican funeral horn section) possess a sense of despair and hopelessness that only Lanegan's voice can convey. The last album to feature original drummer Mark Pickerel, Uncle Anesthesia also set the stage for the band's breakthrough, Sweet Oblivion.
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia