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Melvins | 26 Songs | review | rock | Lollipop


26 Songs (Ipecac)
by Brian Varney

Maybe it's just 'cause I'm drinking, but I'm kinda stumped as to what to call this. 26 Songs is a mega-expanded reissue of the 10 Songs CD originally released on C/Z, itself an expanded reissue of the 6 Songs EP, which I believe was the band's first release. Is it a double-reissue? A reissue squared? The more I think about it, the more I'm leaning towards "reissue squared" because the first reissue expanded the original EP by four songs, while this second reissue expands the first reissue by 16 songs and 4 squared is 16. Silly stuff, I know, but these are the sorts of things you ponder while the Melvins play. And that's the way they like it, trust me.

Anyway, this stuff was recorded in 1986 and it shows the band at its most heavy and least experimental, a bone tossed to the old-school fans who've tired of the band's increasingly experimental, increasingly spotty output. This 'un is for the folks whose favorite Melvins album is Bullhead or Gluey Porch Treatments. The original ten tortuous tracks (the back-to-back excruciation that is "#2 Pencil" and "At a Crawl" will have you splashing Tabasco sauce onto your naked eyeballs because you're so swollen with some kinda feeling that you don't know what to do) are supplemented by 16 additional tracks (hence the title, hey!) labeled as "some alternate recordings and garage demos." I haven't compared the demos to the original versions 'cause - as much as I love these guys - they're best taken in small doses, and this disc is 71 minutes long. I usually let the disc start at the beginning and by track 5 or 6 I'm ready to cash out, even when I've made a considerable dent in the beer supply and the slower and heavier things get, the better they sound, as is the case right now.
(PO Box 1197 Alameda, CA 94501)

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