THE SLUDGE IS BACK!!!
To the avid Melvins’ fan it is quite common to understand that a new album is always coming out around the corner. What version of the Melvins you are going to get is sometimes up in the air, but you can guarantee King Buzzo (Buzz Osborne) and Dale Crover are going to be on board. This time around features the rhythm section from the infamous “Butthole Surfers” Paul Leary and Jeff Pinkus. What does one write about when it comes to the ”GRANDFATHERS OF GRUNGE”? The Melvins have been producing music before I even knew what music was and they have done it again with the recent release on Ipecac records “Hold It In”.
Before I dive in to this awesome release, I believe music fans need to do some homework to understand what “The Melvins” are all about. If you were to do your homework on “The Melvins Band”, you would find that this group of fine musicians has a library like no other. Lyrically, The Melvins have awed fans in a comical style and they are praised often on having transparent lyrics. A true Melvins’ fan needs to have a sense of humor, at times, to really appreciate the seriousness of the Melvins. With that said, not every album that the Melvins release is meant for everyone. I personally find beauty in this aspect. I am a collector of The Melvins’ albums and it brings me great pleasure to share their sound with those who have never sampled it. I cannot begin to scratch the surface on the countless interviews, videos, live performances, and articles that make up the greatness of The Melvins. So consider this an intro to do some homework and form your own opinion.
Ok here we go… The intro track to “Hold It In” is “Bride of Crankenstein” and has a thick sludgy drive with overtones of high-end guitar and digital samples that sweeten the entire song. “You Can Make Me Wait” has a trippy-alternative beginning, but sounds like someone in the sound booth flipped a switch as the vocals come in with a phaser effect. This really attracts the listener to hit the repeat button. “Brass Cupcakes” combines a stoner, rock approach with a melodic rhythm. As it builds towards the bridge, there is an eerie hangover on the guitars as it bleeds into the next track, ”Barcelonian Horseshoe Pit”. This particular track does not feature vocals or drums until 2:16 and really brings back the occasional weirdness of the Melvins, but that’s what they do, they make weird and crazy sound great. This serves as a kick off to the next track, in this instance “Onions Make The Milk Taste Bad”, as a give and take attitude. It is like they are saying, “Hey, you made it this far, now check this out!!” In this track of “Onioins Make The Milk Taste Bad”, you get a solid, rock sounding guitar and vocals that sound like echoes from a cave. Dale never lets down, his drumming is superb, and compliments the time changes very well. The song ends with a single chord being struck which brings out the comical side of The Melvins. There is a warped sense about the track “Eyes On You” that begs the question, “Whose neighbor are The Melvins spying on?” This is another go-to track that will make you wear out your repeat button. Diving right back into the sludge that brought you here in the first place, “Sesame Street Meat” does not disappoint. Every adult that watched Sesame Street as a child can see that history has nothing to do with this song. Shame on you if you thought otherwise. This track delivers a dark melody that would turn big bird’s feathers black. Definitely a track repeater. “Nine Yards” immediately begins with intense vocals, guitars, and drums with a solid bass line that just plain rocks. It sounds like the guitars are cynically laughing at you as the song ends, which I find amusing. The vocal sharing, on the track “The Bunk Up”, compliments the sudden stop and go chugging on this gem that slips into a coma-like stage of the song with a hint of accordion and light drums. This track is 7 min and 35 sec long. It seems to be a celebration of the creative changes that have carried The Melvins from the past to the present. It is not your typical verse-chorus-verse-chorus style song but the Melvins are not your typical band. The Melvins bring us back up with a sonic-sound craze in “I Get Along (Hollow Moon)”. This track is a short, sweet song that one could definitely hear being played over the speakers in a malt shop in the 50’s. It almost has a “B” grade, horror movie aspect that would be the part of the movie where our hero is making a run from whatever evil and is successful in their escape. In the next track, “Piss Pisstopherson”, you can find yourself bouncing in your shoes with vocal harmonizing that makes this track addicting. “House Of Gasoline” is the final track and closes the album with its 12:10 length. This particular track reminds me of The Melvins’ garage days combined with “A Senile Animal” tones. If you don’t know what I am talking about, go listen to “A Senile Animal” (a personal favorite of mine). This track takes vocal breaks which allows the guitars and drums to have complete jam time, similar to lounge music-style. Just as the song dips into what you think is the end, it takes us to a new realm of eerie when the drums take a break and the sound samples take over this rollercoaster of a song.
Not everyone is meant to appreciate the complexity of The Melvins. I would be failing you as a writer if I told you this is going to be your favorite album. It is a great album that I am glad to add to my collection and would rate it a solid 7 out of 10. “Bride of Crankenstein”, “You Can Make Me Wait”, and “Onions Make The Milk Taste Bad” are my personal favorite tracks. If you are into trying new sounds and are into expanding your horizon musically, then give this album a shot. This is what makes The Melvins so unique to me because each album does expand my taste in their style. They don’t make the same album over and over… that would be boring and boring is not The Melvins.
You can check out “Hold It In” on iTunes, Google Play, and Rhapsody.