Tuesday, 20 May 2008



Since reforming and returning to the Sub Pop fold the output of Mudhoney has served for frustrating stuff. After so many years though this band still has the goods and The Lucky Ones proves to be a genuinely thrilling record, finally the returning release befitting of their legacy.

It doesn’t take long to grab hold as “I’m Now” opens with lines such as “I still see that look in your eye, passing through security waving goodbye” in a manner in which Mark Arm only appears to do. With a thumping fizzy riff from Steve Turner drenching the track in turmoil as the chorus of “the past made no sense, the future looks tense” there is once more a dizzyingly nasty nonchalance to proceedings that doesn’t necessarily appear to be confident for the future. All complete with the nice touch of a doorbell buzzing to reiterate their bleak point.

The album explodes into life with the title track as Turner’s opening chops lead into a still truly incendiary band coming together to sound as if they are playing for their lives (or at the very least their careers). Here is another song with a bleak message (“the lucky ones are lucky they’re not around”) coming from seasoned pros who know what they’re on about.

With “The Open Minds” the band serves up a truly mixed message with the crashing observation that “the open mind is an empty mind, so I keep my mind closed.” Sure it is a baiting exercise, the sort of thing I would say to my left student friends without jobs or careers but big opinions on subjects they do not necessarily hold much of a footing in. Sometimes coming from a left field perspective you just get sick of being so righteous and informed, insistent on doing the correct thing and riding the tow. Sometimes you just have to tear loose and condemn! Not that I really believe Mudhoney have turned into real haters.

From here the record trails off slightly as bluesy numbers and fairly staid rock workouts inhabit the later recesses of proceedings although “Tales Of Terror” does offer up the kind of hard hitting chunky nasty riff that you always hope from Mudhoney as Arm continues to scream his way through proceedings before it takes a breather only to storm back faster and harder after recoiling. It’s a definitive lurch.

Beyond this it all comes to a plundering conclusion as the album fulfils its duty of being a memorable and noteworthy set of songs from a band that has long since fallen out of favour with social butterfly audiences.

Message to most bands out there playing with guitars: this is how your instrument should be sounding.

Thesaurus moment: staunch.

Sub Pop

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