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Melvins | Crybaby | review | rock | Lollipop
The Crybaby (Ipecac)
by Craig Regala
Third CD from these guys this season. This one's the "duets" record. They thumbed through the date book and pulled the names of those whose jibs had the right cut. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" with Leif Garrett bats leadoff and it must have an extra musical reason for existence - it's no more interesting than hearing Kim Gordon sing Robert Palmer's "Addicted To Love." I'm sure they both have something to do with art and semiotics. The Hank Williams Sr. and Merle Haggard tunes they do with Henry Bogan and Hank Williams III are straight and wonderful - everyone says so and it's true. Again, I don't really know why, but it's not my band and if anyone deserves respect (or in Phil Anselmo speak, re-FUCKIN'-spect!!), it's the Melvins. Christ Almighty, they've gone out there and done whatever they wanted to, whether it be sorta straight grungy rock ("Stoner Witch"), wahoo psyche ("Stag"), murderous trance rock ("Lysol"), or reished after legal threat ("Melvins" or the other 2/3'rds of this trilogy). All that and "Bootlicker," a honed revisiting of their '80s rock-punk band as bulldozer-which-can-levitate and the New Wave/tribal tick-tock Kraut Rock rhythms, they've followed Mr. Muse down any tunnel he wanted to go, and it's generally a good trip.
Which leaves us with the rest of the stuff. You can carve it into two chunks, making this a trilogy within a trilogy, I guess. Droning, jammy, lengthy, textured stuff; that being a cool cut based around a burbling undercurrent with Mr. M. Patton, G.I. Joe (Ipecac A&R man), a track with Bliss Blood called "The Man with the Laughing Hand is Dead" (a spooky trudge with her trademarked beautiful vocalese), and "Spineless" with Tool. The last sounds like one of those long things off the last Tool record - OK to good. And finally, "Moonpie," a fried-aggro piece of martial drums, booming bass, noise-as-noise and vocal samples that's kinda like old Swans with new toys, the name on the dance card this time is Kevin Sharp hailing from the house of Brutal Truth.
The "Hey! That's, like, a rock song!" pieces belong to Mr. David Yow - two chews off the plug of Melvins-as-panic rock ("Dry Drunk" and "Blockbuster"), then "Your Is No Disgrace," a nice, long 'un featuring Foetus with, I believe, a title copped from a Yes record (the Ys in my collection are out in the garage and it's really sunny so I'm not going out there to check). This'd fit nicely between Mr. Foetus' covers of Alex Harvey's "Faith Healer" and Tad's "Behemoth." Next party you DJ, remember that. The "hit" tune on here is "Spineless," done with Skeleton Key. Even a Deftones fan could handle this nice little slice of Nirvana, plus whizzing, wheezing and banging added for hook, texture and exposition. I won't listen to this much from nose to toes, but at our monthly Melvins listening party, a good half-dozen of these'll hit the deck.
(PO Box 1197 Alameda, CA 94501)