Rolling Stone (1/21/93, p.49) - 3.5 Stars - Very Good - "...a richly varied work that demonstrates a surprising leap in songwriting skills....a great rock album..."
Spin (10/92, p.107) - Highly Recommended - "...[Soul Asylum] remains one of the most criminally underrated bands of the '80s....There's a crisp, clear quality to the 16 tracks that's kind of like an excellent fall day....This is pop music..."
Entertainment Weekly (10/23/92, p.64) - "...[a] hard-hitting album....the quartet slams its best cards on the table, splashing lyrical wit into 100-proof spirit..." - Rating: A
Q (11/92, p.121) - 3 Stars - Good - "...a sturdy punk pop statement..."
Village Voice (3/2/93, p.5) - Ranked #20 in the Village Voice's list of the 40 Best Albums Of 1992.
Soul Asylum: Dave Pirner, Daniel Murphy (vocals, guitar); Karl Mueller (bass); Grant Young (drums).
Additional personnel: Meridian String Quartet (strings); Michael Beinhorn (glockenspiel, celeste); Booker T. Jones (organ); Sterling Campbell (percussion); Gary Louris, Kraig Johnson (background vocals).
Engineers: Chris Shaw, Eric Anderson, Bruce Robb.
Recorded at The Power Station and River Sound, New York, New York; Pachyderm Discs, Cannon Falls, Minnesota; Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles, California.
"Runaway Train" won the 1994 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. It was also nominated for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.
GRAVE DANCER'S UNION was the culmination of career's worth of near misses for Soul Asylum. After slogging away at the college radio and club circuits, the third single from this album, "Runaway Train," placed Soul Asylum among rock's superstars. The record even lead to an invitation to perform at President Clinton's inauguration.
"Somebody to Shove" is a classic Soul Asylum rocker. It features big guitars, punching drums, and a chorus that seems designed expressly as a sing-along for a stadium full of fans. "Black Gold" starts with a deceptive acoustic guitar line that leads into the monster electric riffs of the chorus. On "Runaway Train," Dave Pirner's lyrics and vocals are genuinely affecting. "Keep it Up," "April Fool," and "Get on Out" are direct descendants of the band's pedigree in 1970s rock. The album's standout is "Without a Trace," one of Soul Asylum's best songs. It contains one of the great near rhymes in the history of rock-listen carefully to hear it.