Tuesday 7 June 2016

Melvins - Basses Loaded (Album Review)

Release date: June 3rd 2016. Label: Ipecac Recordings. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Basses Loaded – Tracklisting

1.The Decay of Lying 06:35
2.Choco Plumbing 04:11
3.Beer Hippie 05:15
4.I Want To Tell You 03:13
5.Captain Come Down 02:54
6.Hideous Woman 03:04
7.Shaving Cream 02:31
8.Planet Distructo 06:05
9.War Pussy 02:47
10.Maybe I Am Amused 02:45
11.Phyllis Dillard 04:21
12.Take Me Out To The Ballgame 02:07

Basses Loaded Line-Up:

King Buzzo – guitar & vocals
Dale Crover – drums & vocals (1, 2, 4–6, 8–10), bass (3, 7, 11, 12)
Steven McDonald – bass & vocals (1, 4, 6, 9)
Jared Warren – bass & vocals (2)
Coady Willis – drums & vocals (2)
Mike Dillard – drums & vocals (3, 7, 11, 12)
Jeff Pinkus – bass (5)
Trevor Dunn – bass (8)
Krist Novoselic – bass & accordion (10)


Greetings all,

First off, I would like to thank Steve for giving me a chance to try this reviewer/critic gig out. Secondly, I would like to thank him again for handing me the new Melvins LP for my first job out of the gate.

There isn't much more that can be said about the Melvins that hasn't already been said over the entirety of their 30+ year career. Their music has evolved, devolved, revolved and has always been interesting. I grew up a grunge kid whose favorite band was Nirvana and I remember going to buy Houdini at the National Record Mart in Steubenville, Ohio based solely on the fact that Kurt Kobain had worked on it. From that moment on, I was hooked. If you are reading this, I have to make an assumption you are familiar with the band, or at the very least want to be.

Basses Loaded is the band's umpty-7th full length (25th actually) and, in the vein of always doing what they want, have recorded an album with a rotating cast of bass players joining Buzzo and Dale. Most having a past affiliation with the band. Dale plays bass on 4 of the 12 tracks. Current touring bassist Steve McDonald (Redd Kross) handles 4 additional tracks. Rounding out the low end duties are Jeff Pinkus (Butthole Surfers, Honky), Jared Warren (Big Business), Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle) and Krist Novoselic (Sweet 75).

The album is tight, considering the use of rotating band members, and that the songs included have seen the light on various EP's and split singles. The album continues in the vein of the last few Melvins releases that while heavy, have a few quirky, poppy moments. The Melvins are musical chameleons of the best kind. This is an album that sticks with you and warrants repeated listens.

Here we go song by song;

01. The Decay of Lying (Steve McDonald) is a surprisingly slow burner that builds and chugs into a solid, solid rock tune.

02. Choco Plumbing (Jared Warren) is reminiscent of a Nude with boots era Melvins/Big Business song, it bring the heavy, new wavish style that I feel came out on the last two Melvins/Big Business albums

03. Beer Hippie (Dale Crover) is another of the bands trademark lumbering, huge riff rockers

04. I Want To Tell You (Steve McDonald) is a Beatles cover from Revolver that potentially shows McDonald's influence and the bands flexibility

05. Captain Come Down (JD Pinkus) is a shorter rock song with another solid riff. Very much in the Butthole Surfers/Honky vein based on the contribution of Mr. Pinkus

06. Hideous Woman (Steve McDonald) a shorter, slightly more up-tempo track with a definite Melvins feel to it.

07. Shaving Cream (Dale Crover) is a profanity laden umpah track that transforms into a profanity land little piece of post punk repetition

08. Planet Distructo (Trevor Dunn) is the one tune that you can actually really hear the bassist style come through. Trevor Dunn's acoustic upright bass is front and center of this schizo tune.

09. War Pussy (Steve McDonald) is another great tune in the vein of Captain Come Down and Hideous woman. These tracks are what the Melvins have evolved into in my eyes. Heavy and to the point, when they want to be.

10. Maybe I Am Amused (Krist Novoselic) would appear, at least in title, as a wink and a nod to the whole Paul McCartney, Sound City, Nirvana reunion thing that never came to be, but the accordion heavy, hand clap driven pop tune is slightly off kilter but spot on.

11. Phyllis Dillard (Dale Crover) is a song that is the epitome of a Melvins song, the driving bass, thundering drums and monster riff along with Buzzo's growl. It ventures almost into being a metal song, without actually ever getting there.

12. Take Me Out To The Ballgame (Dale Crover) is what it is, a straight on cover of the 7th inning stretch tune.

To me, this album is a return to form for the band, if you dig The Melvins, you will dig this record, as it truly warrants repeat listens. And also, it is not a bad introduction to someone who is possibly new to the band, as it shows their versatility and is accessible, without compromising from beginning to end. Highly recommended!

Words by Todd Stealey