Friday, 30 March 2018

Melvins - Pinkus Abortion Technician (Album Review)

Release date: April 20th 2018. Label: Ipecac Recordings. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Pinkus Abortion Technician – Tracklisting

1. Stop Moving To Florida
2. Embrace The Rub
3. Don’t Forget To Breathe
4. Flamboyant Duck
5. Break Bread
6. I Want To Hold Your Hand
7. Prenup Butter
8. Graveyard


Buzz Osborne – Guitars/Vox
Dale Crover – Drums
Jeff Pinkus – Bass
Steven McDonald – Bass


Greetings All,

It was a little less than two years ago that I did my first review for Outlaws. Steve took a chance on me and handed me the Melvins Basses Loaded. I have been a huge Melvins fan for over 20 years. I was a grunge kid being in my teens in the early 90’s. I remember going to the National Record Mart in Steubenville, Ohio to pick up Houdini the day it came out in 1993. I had read a review in Rolling Stone and was a big Nirvana fan, so I took a stab and have been hooked ever since.

2018 gives us Pinkus Abortion Technician, the bands 507th release and 23rd in the past two years. I’m kidding, but honestly I have lost track. The band remains insanely prolific. I believe this to be their 3rd full length in the last 3 years, not counting solo albums, side projects, etc.

Pinkus Abortion Technician has Buzz and Dale (If you are reading this I assume you already have a working knowledge of how the Melvins operate and how their line up constantly evolves) working with their last two bassists, Jeff Pinkus (Butthole Surfers, Honky, and more) and Steven McDonald (Redd Kross, Off!, etc) in an interesting fashion that includes tons of differing styles and instrumentation. In listening to the record, I didn’t notice any specific tracks that highlighted a double bass sound. It seems the band used the opportunity to add to the unique instrumentation and song structure. The eight songs on the record are intriguing and eminently listenable.

Stop Moving to Florida opens the record. It is an amalgamation of the old James Gang song Stop and the Butthole Surfers track Moving to Florida from Rembrandt Pussyhorse. The catchy classic rock style of the Stop portion improves upon the original version, while the Florida portion is remarkably similar to the original. Embrace the Rub follows, it is a short New-Wave inspired track with a punk inspired chorus.

Don’t Forget to Breathe is a seven minute plus track that moves at a slow, methodical pace with an ominous sound and shows touches of the bands more trademark heavy/sludge sound. The song is also highlighted by an odd steel drum/synth/dulcimer sound. One of the most interesting songs on the record is the atmospheric pop of Flamboyant Duck. The song is the first of two that opens with an acoustic guitar and brings in some of Pinkus trademark banjo plucking before transforming into a heavy guitar and synth closing. An interesting note on the first half of the record is that the majority of lead vocals are done by the bassist duo and not Buzz.

Break Bread is a more straight ahead, almost southern rock tinged track. It’s no secret that the band has an affection for ZZ Top. The songs mid-tempo beat and catchy chorus give way to a noisy breakdown that reminds me a lot of the little band from Texas. Ironically, one of the heaviest songs on the record is a cover of the greatest pop group of all time.

I Want to Hold Your Hand has been a live staple for quite a few years. The song maintains the catchiness of the original but adds a real heavy punch that makes it one of the stand out tracks on the record. The Melvins prove throughout this record (as well as past albums) that they can really do some remarkable work with a cover song. Prenup Butter follows and opens once again with an acoustic guitar that gives way to a definite psychedelic guitar sound. The track has a driving drum beat that carries a dark, heavy psych stomp. A second Butthole Surfers cover of Graveyard, from the almost name sake Surfers record Locust Abortion Technician, closes the record.

This is the sludgiest, most old school Melvins sounding track on the record. The band makes it their own, while still keeping it similar to the original, this track may be the most obvious to have a double bass sound to it. The guitars are heavy, the drums loud and the vocals are trade mark Buzz style with plenty of noise and feedback to go around.

At this point in the game the Melvins approach an album and do what they want with no regard or interest in what others expect or want them to do. This must be an amazingly liberating feeling. If you are a Melvins fan, you will absolutely dig Pinkus Abortion Technician. 

Don’t do yourself the disservice of pushing it off because it lacks the Sludge of Lysol or the heaviness/metal sound of their Atlantic years. Embrace it and enjoy the ride, the Melvins know where they are going, even if the rest of us don’t. 

Pinkus Abortion Technician is a welcome addition to an already impressive catalog of killer music.

- Todd S

Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Thanks to Lauren at Rarely Unable PR for the promo. Pinkus Abortion Technician will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Ipecac Recordings from April 20th 2018.