Sunday, 26 August 2007



In some ways this is probably the best collection of songs that Mudhoney ever managed to cobble together into a studio album. Unfortunately the recordings of them are quite frankly dross. Somehow between the process of writing and practising the songs at the point of recording (with Jack Endino) something got stunted and squeezed too much life out of these potential classics. The evidence is in the live versions of the songs that emerge on various bootlegs, this was a band on fire being suffocated and extinguished within the studio environment.

The record opens majestically with “This Gift” which was the first ever Mudhoney song I heard. Here is a band making sounds and noises with their instruments that you have no idea how they doing it. Accompanying such mesmerising gestures is a set of lyrics delivered with the kind of sneer that come from only the most

These are sick love songs performed by individuals 99.9% of the world’s female population does not want to sleep with play for an audience whose chances with the ladies are even slighter than that. You just know that when the second song on an album comes with the pissed mantra of “Flat Out Fucked” this is not necessarily a set of songs that will appeal to most. This is what it was like to be drunk in the nineties.

From here you begin to wonder just how in such a left field circle a song as explicit as “Get Into Yours” found acceptance. I think it is was because it tapped into the loser lifestyle and celebrated failure. Within this song was the kind of gesture a sane person from the right side of the tracks would never be expressing (even though they were probably thinking such desperation). Sadly though the recording just sounds muffled as I listen to it today and really try to get excited to the point I can objects across the room with view to smashing them. Come back Lassie!

Surviving from the era of Superfuzz Bigmuff “You Got It” returns to the record with a series of sentiments not unlike the desperation of “Get Into Yours” but now with a kind of scolding distaste for the apple of the author’s eye. Some might with it as verging on misogynistic but boy does this capture in song the description of female friends that we have all encountered over the years. With its lumbering throws this isn’t necessarily a bad way to be in life: offensively guarded.

Having always had a keen ear for a cover version next they storm through “Magnolia Caboose Babyshit” which was originally by Blue Cheer under the name of “Magnolia Caboose Babyfinger.” Damn song sounds like it was designed to be in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.

In “Here Comes Sickness” the band charge out one of their most loose but direct songs of their arsenal. Again it is yet another scathing attack on a female in their world that could equally be a persistent groupie (a prototype Courtney Love) or a stepmother figure (if taking the line “there goes sickness in my daddy’s car” literally). In the same way Run DMC were “illin’”, Mudhoney had their “sickness.” With lines like “all the neighbourhood dogs sniffing at her crotch” you sense this tale does not come from a happy home.

A couple of understated offers following in “Running Loaded” and “The Farther I Go” racing out of the blocks like the Stooges working double time. This is then gets replaced by a sense of remorse overwhelming proceedings with “By Her Own Hand” and the bleakest number on the album on a day where competition is stiff and scathing.

“When Tomorrow Hits” is a scary, apprehensive on the grandest scale as a sense of dread occupies thoughts and the reaction to the moment currently passing. Eventually the song explodes in suitable and destructive fashion.

As proceedings climax with “Dead Love” the record gets taken in a very psychedelic direction that expertly takes on what it really is like to fall (literally) in love and bury yourself in obsession “six feet under in love.” This is the song of consummation, of getting caught up in the moment and beginning to feel giddy with it as the ride takes a most unexpected turn. Am I still talking about the song or recalling a past sexploit now? Just what does Mark Arm mean when he keeps repeating “I got sucked?” So much wah, so little time. And with that it ends with the band sounding as if they are falling down a well.

Ultimately at the end of the album the strength of song has won. Even if the recording doesn’t feel or sound up to measure the tracks do, holding enough dynamism to makeup for any shortfalls that may have unfortunately occurred in the process. Against the elements enthusiasm remains high. There’s nobody to blame, move along.

Thesaurus moment: infatuation.

Sub Pop

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