April 19, 2018 Melvins – Pinkus Abortion Technician (Album Review)
The Melvins had been operating in the so-called belly of American Underground music scene in the mid-’80s, releasing their debut full-length in 1987; but they catapulted into the Alternative Rock limelight in the advent of the 1990s particularly after the late, highly influential Kurt Cobain of Nirvana included them on his list of favorite bands, alongside The Raincoats (“Animal Rhapsody”), Pixies (“Gigantic”), The Breeders (“When I Was a Painter”), The Vaselines (“Son of a Gun”), Bikini Kill (“Rebel Girl”), Sonic Youth (“100%”), and Meat Puppets (“Lake of Fire”). In fairness with Melvins, nonetheless, the enduring band played their part and worked hard to deserve the accolades, carving a prolific path for their own, weathering the decline of Grunge in the commercial spotlight in the ensuing decades, and soldiering into the current times.
Formed in 1983, in Montesano, Washington, United States, Melvins – one of the remaining flag bearers of ’90s-originating Grunge music – have really come a long way. Since their first full release – 1987’s Gluey Porch Treatments – a slew of EPs, collaborative works, and proper albums had since followed, up till last year’s A Walk with Love & Death. Now, a new one is forthcoming already!
Slated for release on April 20, 2018, on Ipecac Recordings, Pinkus Abortion Technician is the overall 27th full-length album of Melvins, which consist currently of Buzz Osborne (lead vocals, guitars), Dale Crover (drums, percussion, vocals), Jeff Pinkus (bass, vocals), and Steven Shane McDonald (bass, vocals). It opens with the full-blown grate of “Stop Moving to Florida,” which combines the over-the-top aggression of Grunge and the Pop sensibilities of Alternative Rock. This early, the band’s decision to feature two bassists results in something very melodic and full-sounding; after all, such a feat was already employed in the 1990s by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin (“Suave and Suffocated”) and in the 2010s by Freebass (“Not Too Late”), both of which had also more than one bass player
Following next is the neck-breaking assault of the Hardcore Punk ditty “Embrace the Rub,” which shows that, despite their tenure, Melvins could still bang their heads and are yet really to slow down. Then there is the almost-eight-minute Stoner/Sludge Rock of “Don’t Forget to Breathe,” which has flourishes of Oriental-inspired keyboard melodies and faint echoes of early Pearl Jam (“Even Flow”), Soundgarden (“Birth Ritual”), and Alice in Chains (“Them Bones”).
“Flamboyant Duck” is a change of pace and style – rustic, acoustic, progressive, and has an air of late-’60s Progressive/Psychedelic Folk, yet still glazed with the customary fuzziness of a typical Melvins track. “Break Bread” then transports the listener back to the heyday of Grunge, in the early ’90s, when crunchy and thick power chords; punchy drumbeats; pounding bass lines; and growling, angst-ridden vocal delivery reigned supreme. Interestingly, the next track is Melvins’ fractured, Grunge rendition of The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Take a note of that. The penultimate track, “Prenup Butter,” is another slow, sludgy song that has hints of jazzy and spacey tripping. Finally, Melvins concludes their latest concoction with something big-sounding – the sinister, scathing, scorching, and searing swoop of “Graveyard” – such an aptly dark closer.
Grunge and Alternative Rock may not be the favored children of Rock in the mainstream these days, but who cares? Melvins are here to stay! Besides, in this Internet age, when music is no longer the monopoly of radio stations, corporate-oriented labels, and scoop-hungry journalists, anyone could simply check the world wide web for updates on his favorite genre/s or band/s.
With or without radio support, Melvins’ music continues to delight those who prefer that fuzzy and murky kind of Alternative Rock. Do your share. Whatever the length of your hair, leave it unkempt; and then listen to a dose of Melvins’ latest barrage of beautiful noise. That was how cool kids rocked and rolled during the good ol’ days of Grunge in the 1990s. Relive it, or better yet, start a new musical revolution! CrypticRock gives Pinkus Abortion Technician 4 out of 5 stars.