Essential New Music: Soul Asylum’s “Change Of Fortune”

Watching Soul Asylum hawk liner note shout-outs, Skype drum workshops, private shows, “original Dave Pirner artwork” and slots on the “guest list for life” via crowdsourcing site PledgeMusic to finance a new album 20 years after pretending not to savor its last true swig of mainstream success with Let Your Dim Light Shine, one might presume the Minneapolis quartet pines for its clock-punching days at the Frustrated, Incorporated factory.

The aptly titled Change Of Fortune, however, tells a different, far more interesting story of a band not embittered by the downswing, but enlivened—both creatively and in its (sometimes puckish, sometimes acutely sincere) we’re-not-dead-yet-motherfuckers mien. They forge (against all expectations and odds) one of the best, most fully actualized records of their three-decade-plus career—a sublime, affecting prime cut of edgy adult-contemporary pop/rock perfection that explores the darkness and light of life and love without devolving into the miserable.

—Shawn Macomber