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Blessid Union of Souls loves the '90s

Photo courtesy of Paradise Artists
Blessid Union of Souls sang 'Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me For Me),' but the real question is will we still like them for them 10 years later? See them play at the Rialto Theatre tonight at 8.
By Michael Petitti
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 29, 2005
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Clap your hands and say "whatever" because the '90s are back. Sort of, because Blessid Union of Souls returns to the public consciousness with a new album, Perception, and a tour.

If you don't recall the name, chances are good you will remember the shiny glean of their '90s alt-rock hits "Leonardo (She Likes Me for Me)" and "I Believe." Although Blessid Union of Souls wasn't a '90s scene stealer like Nirvana or Pavement, interestingly they have outlasted both.

Lead singer/guitarist Eliot Sloan credits the band's longevity - going on their 10th year - to a burning desire to make music.

"I always felt like this is what I want to do forever," Sloan said. "I didn't just want to do one album and be done. I didn't know it would last this long, but we were hoping it would and so far, so good."

Even though the band hasn't necessarily been charting the radio or reaching MTV over the past 10 years, they have kept productive. Perception marks their fifth album to date and first since 2001's The Singles. With the addition of a new drummer and guitarist, Perception is noticeably louder than previous releases.

"With adding a new guitar player, so now we have two - as opposed to a keyboard player - that had a lot to do with the sound because basically I was just kind of like, 'All right, what's the band sound like now?'" Sloan said. "And when it gelled together I had a different vision of what we'd sound like, so the new record is more electric than past ones."

Although there may be a transition in the sound between this album and previous releases, Sloan's songwriting process remains consistent.

"Our approach to songwriting is just to wait for inspiration to hit me and I go from there," Sloan said. "So, once we do that then we kind of have a direction and we move towards what those first few songs are sounding like."

Sloan is quick to note that the band was not willing to rush the album and compromise its quality.

"We kind of took our time with this one," Sloan said. "We were just waiting really for the right time. It had been a little bit since we had a studio record out, so we just kind of took our time with this."

Sloan believes it is this laid-back attitude that helped Perception to take its shape.

"We really didn't know what the album was going to sound like at first," Sloan said. "We just started writing songs and kind of hearing what sounded good in my head - I did a lot of demos - so we got a good blueprint of what the record was going to sound like after the first four or five songs. It was like, 'OK, this is kind of a cool direction,' so we just kind of went from there."

Sloan enjoys keeping busy - when not listening to his favorite artists like Elliott Smith and Radiohead - and foresees possibly rocking 10 more years with Blessid Union of Souls.

"I'm actually already writing songs for the next record, whenever that's going to be," Sloan said. "Every time we get towards the end of recording one record I kind of get into a roll where it's like, 'Man, this song would've sounded good or this sound would've sounded good.' I've taken a break over the last couple of weeks, but there are still seven or eight songs in pre-production form that I think will sound good on the next record, so I kind of like started the next record even though this one hasn't even started to get going."

To check out the '90s in action, see Blessid Union of Souls at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., tonight at 8. Tickets are $20.

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