October 16, 2021

Melvins – “WORKING WITH GOD” – Alternately hilarious and bone-breakingly heavy

IPECAC RECORDINGS February 26th 2021

Alternately hilarious and bone-breakingly heavy, this is a joy. Opening on a mutated cover of The Beach Boys’ ‘I Get Around’, the Melvins substitute every possible verb, noun and adjective with the ancient Saxon word for making the two-backed beast and make it into a puerile, funny and fun romp. Last time I heard the word pounded into meaninglessness so skillfully was John Cooper Clarke’s ‘Evidently Chickentown’.

Then it is down to business with the heavy chunky chops of Negative No No. It reminds me of the first Melvins I heard – super heavy black hole sludge. They rattle on into a fast impulsive pounder then some brutally crushing riffs and a squall of guitar that substitutes for a solo. This is Melvins 1983, a new / old incarnation, the 1983 incarnation of the band: Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, and Steven McDonald. Simple as only a trio can be, the grime and grunge are distilled down into pure noise.

It’s not all crushing heaviness. Brian The Horse Faced Goon is like The Undertones’ ‘My Perfect Cousin’ turned inside out and painted black. ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ is a barbershop acapella ending to the album – no obscenities, no bluster, just sweetness that makes you think “what could they be hiding behind their backs?” The highlight is a straightforward cover of Harry (‘Everybody’s Talking’) Nillson’s ‘You’re Breakin’ My Heart’. They have a lot of gleeful fun with that one, since they didn’t have to rewrite it to get the profanities in, so look forward to covers of ‘Without You’ and ‘One’. “You’re breakin’ my heart, You’re tearing it apart, so…. fuck you”. Swinging, squalling, swearing; buckets of fun for all the family.

But when Melvins 83 are heavy, they are very heavy and psychedelic metallic sludge crunchers abound, like the Motorhead-ish ‘Hund’ or the Flipper collaboration, ‘Hot Fish’. This is the most fun I’ve had with a Melvins album for ages and I just wish I could play it to my kids……