Sponge’s New Album Lavatorium Creates a Strong Urge to Hit the Skip Button Several Times

3.3 out of 5 stars

For me, Sponge has yet to come close to recreating an album that is worthy of their debut album, Rotting Piñata, which was released back in 1994.

The song “Molly (16 Candles Down the Drain)” was a big hit and decent song, and I remember becoming a slightly bigger fan when they put the previously unreleased song “Seventeen” on the Mallrats soundtrack.

However, since that time, the band decided to head in a different direction from their original sound, and the current result definitely sounds more like an Alice In Chains cover band that plays downtown in Las Vegas on a regular basis.

The “heroin rock” sound (as I call it), which was pioneered by bands like Guns N' Roses, Stone Temple Pilots, L.A. Guns and other Sunset Strip acts, was outdated as soon as it became popular, in my opinion. But don’t tell that to Sponge who seem to keep hoping that the musical genre makes a comeback.

That’s not to say that I think that Sponge is bad at what they do. They aren’t. I just don’t like the genre, myself. I haven’t really been a fan of any of those bands since about 1997 or so.

Now, for what’s it worth, I thought that I would go through this whole album and just dislike every song. That’s kinda the way it seemed for the first few songs. They all had a pretty standard rock format with little value to even pay close attention to.

The lyrics don’t exactly have much going for them either with some lyrics literally making a complete disconnect between what’s being said and HOW the song sounds that it is cringeworthy in quite a few places. 

One of the worst examples of a song on this album is “If Cobain Was a Cowboy.” The title suggests exactly what you think you are going to get from the song. 

Another sign that Sponge wasn’t really all that interested in making something fresh is that they put their most known song (1994’s “Plowed”) onto the album but just re-recorded it. I am thinking this was just a lazy way to get some extra sales for the album, because I can’t think of any reason a band would ever do this.

Even as critical as I am, there really is ONE saving grace on this album, and that is the song “Devil in the Field.”

Sponge seem to be channeling more of their own past and figured out that music can be made to be fun, different and still fit the mold of their own style.

The opening wild-west, saloon-sounding piano immediately interjects itself from the same repetitive formula that is used throughout the rest of the album, and I thought that it may just be an intro to the song or something, but, no, they actually used the piano throughout the song and came up with a track that I can actually listen to again and again. Of course, it does have a very reminiscent sound that "Cowboy" of fellow Michigan rocker Kid Rock from back in 1999.

This song also makes sense in their repertoire because they try to reach a Johnny Cash type of country mixed with a Kid Rock swagger and GNR musical style that doesn’t work on almost any song. But this one it does.

You can have a listen below, but if you are not a Sponge fan, this will probably be the only song you would listen to off this album.