Soul Asylum  Photo by Jenn Devereaux

If you listened to the radio in the ’90s, you surely heard Minneapolis indie rock band Soul Asylum’s acoustic smash hit “Runaway Train,” from the 1992 triple-platinum album “Grave Dancers Union.” The album was their fifth, and the hit earned the band a Grammy for best rock song.

But if you thought Soul Asylum disappeared after the song dropped off the charts, you’d be seriously mistaken. The band has made seven albums since then, and the latest, “Hurry Up and Wait,” will bring the act to Portland this month.

Frontman Dave Pirner said in a phone interview that there may be a video to go along with the new album, coming out in April – something that holds particular significance for those of us who remember the haunting one made for “Runaway Train,” which has a legacy of its own.

Although Pirner wrote the song during a bout of clinical depression, the lyrics took on a new meaning when British director Tony Kaye (“American History X”) drew inspiration from seeing images of missing children on milk cartons to make the video, which showed pictures of real missing children along with text indicating how long they had been gone. Heavy rotation on MTV resulted in more than 20 missing children being found.

After the success of “Grave Dancers Union,” Soul Asylum hit the charts again in 1995 with “Let Your Dim Lights Shine” and its single “Misery.” The band didn’t fare as well commercially with 1998’s “Candy from a Stranger” and was dropped from its label, resulting in an eight-year recording hiatus, although Pirner did release a solo album in 2002.

In 2005, Soul Asylum lost its bass player, Karl Mueller, to throat cancer. A year later, “The Silver Lining” came out and was followed by another studio hiatus. The band picked up production for 2012’s “Delayed Reaction,” followed by 2016’s “Change of Fortune,” which brings its discography to now.

Soul Asylum kicks off a winter tour on Feb. 11 ahead of the release of “Hurry Up and Wait” and will be at Port City Music Hall on Feb. 18.

Maybe you’ve been a Soul Asylum fan since the chart-hitting days. Maybe you’ve been one since its early days in the mid-’80s and the five albums that came before the breakthrough. Maybe you’re like me and only know the singles like “Runaway Train,” “Somebody To Shove,” “Black Gold” and “Misery.” Heck, maybe you’ve never heard of Soul Asylum.

Here’s the good news: It doesn’t matter. Why? Because “Hurry Up and Wait” is stacked with melodic, pop rock nuggets, like the opening track “The Beginning,” the bittersweet, uber catchy “If I Told You,” the buzzy “Busy Signals,” the angsty “Social Butterfly” and the album-ending, self-deprecating “Silly Things.” “I think it has a certain sense of reckoning to it and a certain sense of looking back and laughing,” Pirner said about the song.

Then there’s “Dead Letter,” a moody, broody tune that even Pirner himself was surprised was chosen as the album’s first single. “I thought it was a cool idea. It’s different, and I thought it was a good thing to start out with because it’s unexpected.”

You’ll hear several “Hurry Up and Wait” tunes at the Portland show, along with a bunch from the previous albums. Pirner’s voice is as sturdy, vulnerable and discernible as ever.

Soul Asylum’s current lineup is Pirner on vocals and rhythm guitar, drummer Michael Bland, lead guitarist Ryan Smith and Winston Roye on bass.

Pirner moved back to his hometown of Minneapolis about two years ago after spending 17 years in New Orleans. Although he became entrenched in the culture and history of The Big Easy and misses having talented musicians at every turn, Pirner’s family is in Minneapolis, and he said he’s glad to be back there, despite the brutal winters.

As for hitting the road as a musician in his mid-50s, Pirner said it’s a mix of trepidation and excitement, and that every tour has its ups and downs. But there’s one thing that’s always satisfying to Pirner, and that’s hitting the groove with the band, because when that happens, the fun begins.

“Once you’re going, you’re going, and then the band really starts to lock in,” he said.

Soul Asylum with Local H
8 p.m. Feb. 18. Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland, $28 in advance, $33 day of show, $45 preferred seating, 18-plus.

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