MusicThe Melvins – “Houdini”

If any of you have ever heard of the Melvins, it is probably because they grew up alongside the fellows who would eventually become Nirvana in Aberdeen, Washington. It is indeed unfortunate that most people wouldn’t bother giving this band a moment’s notice if it weren’t for their geographic location (they have since relocated to San Francisco) because they have created one of the best albums to come out of any corner of the nation this year.

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But anyone who is looking for more of what we have come to know as the infamous “grunge sound” had better look elsewhere. If the sound of a snail wallowing through a swamp of maple syrup were cranked through a stack of Marshall amps, the result would not be terribly different from that of the Melvins. Slower, heavier, much more bass and tons LOUDER than any band out of Seattle, one gets the impression that they would have been more comfortable pounding out this offering in a garage (or maybe a dungeon) than an actual recording studio.

As far as variety goes, this album doesn’t score very well, but each song is brilliant and the Melvins manage to steer clear of the repetitious clich”s that make so much of today’s heavier music so unlistenable.

While I definitely would not recommend this album to someone who prefers shiny, happy MTV anthems, I strongly urge those of you who gravitate toward the “louder-is-better” music to check out this band. Just keep a healthy supply of aspirin handy. .

Review by R. L., Fitchburg, MA

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