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Album Review

The rules of pop only allow for big things, big sales, big records, big success. You can be indie rock, only sell a couple-thousand albums, and survive on your hardcore fan base, but how many bands that fall firmly into the category of pop can say they have a hardcore fan base? That's why it's always interesting when bands like Blessid Union of Souls go it on their own and come up with a better album than expected. Being too uncool for college radio and too "over" for mainstream radio is one of the hardest places to be for a band, but Blessid Union seem up to the challenge with frontman Eliot Sloan cranking out some quality songs, mostly written on his own for a change. While "I Still Believe in Love"'s opening couplet — "Ten years have passed and we're right where we were/Some things are better but so much is worse" — could apply to the state of the band, the song is actually one of those huge, life affirming ballads that incorporates strings. Hear it in the wrong mood and it seems like a shameless play for the big-time, but in the end, it's like everything else on the album, genuine and heartfelt. Tracks like "A Thousand and One" and "Reminds Me of You" are the kind of grand and positive message numbers the band does best, and hearing them on an indie-level budget just ups the ambitious quotient all the more. As a lyric writer, Sloan is getting sharper and sharper, which makes up for hookless tracks that appear every third or fourth number. Sixteen-songs long, the album could have trimmed the hookless numbers and made more of a case for the band that was once considered faceless Hootie-come-lately's. Now they're barely even considered, which is a shame since Perception is breezy, uplifting, and a testament to Sloan's sincere belief in positive pop.


Formed: 1990 in Cincinnati, OH

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

With their optimistic, spiritual outlook and song-oriented mix of pop, R&B, and folk -- dubbed "rural soul" by the band -- Blessid Union of Souls quickly became one of the most popular bands in the post-Hootie & the Blowfish adult alternative radio format in the mid-'90s. Their 1995 debut album, Home, was a huge success, producing a Top Ten hit in the single "I Believe." Blessid Union of Souls were founded in Cincinnati by vocalist/songwriter Eliot Sloan and guitarist/songwriter Jeff Pence in 1990;...
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Perception, Blessid Union of Souls
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