Back in the early 1980’s when punk was very underground and Seattle was a few years shy of exploding, there was a band that fused Black Sabbath sludge and doom with punk aesthetic. Think of slowest dirge by Black Sabbath, then take that song and drag it in a pool of mud, molasses and quicksand then throw in some booming vocals and you would have the Melvins. For years the band was so known for their doom and gloom blended with fits of punk that this new album almost seems out of left field for them. Within the past three years they were touring with two drummers and now they’ve dropped the second drummer to pick up an upright jazz bassist. This sounds like a strange move, Avid Reader, but when the bassist is Trevor Dunn then you have nothing to worry about.
Consisting of founding members Buzz Osborne on vocals/guitar and Dale Crover slamming the drums, adding a seasoned fellow like Dunn to the mix makes sense. He’s appeared on albums by Mr. Bungle and Fantomas, which Osborne collaborated on as well. Yet his slick bass style compliments the huge drums and fat guitar wail all too well. When left as a three-piece, there are moments on the album where the players each have a chance to flex their muscles a bit and jam for a few seconds before reconvening to play the song. Compared to most work by the Melvins, this is exciting to hear. The band is even calling themselves Melvins-Lite which could also be the name of a bad local beer.
If you need something to listen to try: “A Growing Disgust”, “Baby Won’t You Weird Me Out”,”Leon Versus the Revolution”,”Freak Puke” or the cover of Paul McCartney’s “Let Me Roll It” which caught me off guard toward the end of the disc. This was an interesting listen and at times I was thudding along with the thunderous guitar, then I would be lulled through by a swaying bass line.
This review is timed very well as I’ll be checking the band out in their first ever New Hampshire show September 28th at the Dover Brickhouse. The band is trying to break the record for playing 50 shows in 51 days which is one in every state in the nation. They started in Anchorage and will end in Honolulu, so catch them while you can.