photo & text by nacrowe
throughout the LAYNE STALEY era of ALICE IN CHAINS's career there was a cycle of releases whereby after a studio album there would be a stopgap EP before the next major release. this was initiated by SAP (COLUMBIA, 1992) before the release of DIRT (COLUMBIA, 1992) and was mirrored by JAR OF FLIES (COLUMBIA, 1994) before the release of ALICE IN CHAINS (COLUMBIA, 1995).
SAP is often overlooked in the stunning catalogue of ALICE IN CHAINS releases during both phases of the band, but its importance cannot be overlooked. it basically established their ability to have CREATIVE FREEDOM, which when looking at the work of their peers during this period you soon realize that not everyone was successful transforming or evolving their sound (like METALLICA). with this DOWNCAST and DOWN-TEMPO EP release full of acoustic dirges that had little to do with the energetic punchiness of their debut, ALICE IN CHAINS made their fans aware of their range and their FEARLESNESS in pursuing whatever sounds caught their ear. SAP effectively established the parameters of what the band could pull on record. the title came from a dream that drummer SEAN KINNEY had during recording, which took place during a session for the song "WOULD?" for an upcoming soundtrack to the CAMERON CROWE film SINGLES (WARNER BROS, 1992). the band essentially having the studio fit the bill for several extra songs being demoed during that same session.
standout tracks include "GOT ME WRONG" and "BROTHER" but as is the case with their entire discography, there is no bad track that can be found. guest vocals throughout are provided by fellow SEATTLE luminaries CHRIS CORNELL (SOUNDGARDEN), MARK ARM (MUDHONEY) and ANN WILSON (HEART). my favorite song off the EP has long been "AM I INSIDE" which is beyond haunting and really showcases the EMOTIONAL RESONANCE and POWER of STALEY's voice, as well as his own sense of DESPERATE ISOLATION. the songs still affects me every time i hear it.
if you are unfamiliar with the SAP EP, it is well worth discovering and checking out. just dont expect walls of distortion a la FACELIFT, DIRT or ALICE IN CHAINS. it is its own animal.