Listening to this, I have but one question to ask myself: Why the hell has it taken me so long to listen to a Melvins album? Both as a band and as individuals, they’ve had strong associations with some of my all-time favourite artists, not least of all Jello Biafra and Mike Patton, and I have all THOSE albums so…WHY?! Oh well, I guess I’ll give myself the benefit of the doubt, because after all there are SO many bands yet so little time… at least I’ve finally discovered the Melvins, and I must say, they fucking ROCK. And then some.
This album is not only exceptionally well written and performed, managing at once to have a freshness while still keeping the ol’-fashioned spirit of rawk n’ roll well and truly alive, but is also exceptionally well produced, and frankly an absolute joy to behold on headphones: It is spacious and at times layered, without ever being cluttered, and the album as a whole is an excellent example of how to get a lot of ideas onto a record without it ever sounding unduly cluttered. The musicianship is quite breathtaking for a band generally dismissed as mere “punks”, and drummer Dale Crover is frankly stunning; as an occasional drummer myself, it’s great to hear drums that have the space to breathe so freely in the mix (including the occasional “drum solo” of sorts – “Evil New War God” is especially astonishing in this regard – but never any that overstay their welcome a la that tiresome Bonham fellow from Led Zeppelin)! Just magnificent, really. A hilariously slow Doom Metal-esque cover of Who classic “My Generation” tops things off very nicely. Well done, lads.
I understand now how and why these gentlemen came to be the Godfathers of sludge-rock…and can now spy a big, black hole in my CD collection, right in the middle amongst the “M”s. Anyone have a complete set of Melvins CDs they wanna get rid of cheaply…?
© Michael Bowser, Music Vice