Melvins Lite ‘Freak Puke’ – album review

Melvins Lite ”˜Freak Puke’ (Ipecac Recordings)
Released 4th June 2012

It must be hard work being a Melvins fan; such is the flow of material, just keeping up with the release schedule would be a challenge, let alone familiarising yourself with the actual music created.
However for ”˜Freak Puke’ their 18th full length release things have got a tad easier; well easier if you are at all familiar with the usual Melvins sound, as ”˜Freak Puke’ sees Crover and Osborne firstly work under the Melvins Lite moniker, thought the cover art credits The Melvins. The term ”˜Lite’ in these modern times is generally used by the food and fizzy drink industry and implies ”˜same great taste without the calories/badness/GM additives etc’ ”“ are we to consider the full Melvins band as being bad for us, or have The Melvins declared war upon Coca Cola.

Anyway having temporarily jettisoned the excess for this side project, Trevor Dunn was brought in (Dbl Bass) Mr. Bungle, Fantomas & Tomahawk).
The Melvins have a long history of mixing up our line-ups and I think that’s what has kept us relevant for so long,” explains Buzz. “Consider the Freak Puke record the fifth side of the four-sided Melvins triangle.” “We had seen Trevor playing upright bass in a jazz setting and thought that we could utilize that for a recording project,” explained Crover. “This is something different from the two drummer/big hair line-up, which we plan on continuing with as well.” It’s this shift in line-up that allows them to offer up something a little less intense whilst retaining that uncompromising Melvins attitude, though be warned the change is only very subtle.

Album opener “Mr. Big” begins like a horror movie. Dunn manipulates the bow of his double bass to create some spooky even metallic effects which continues for nearly a minute and a half before the track morphs a psychedelic tinged rock vibe full of strange melodies that at the same time are oddly engaging.
Odd is the common denominator here ”“ check the string noise introduction to ”˜Baby, Won’t You Weird Me Out’ which goes off in a jazz direction, albeit jazz played by The Melvins ”“ think opiate addled musos in a smoke filled shabeen ”˜feelin the vibe’
We even get a take on the Paul McCartney /Wings track ”˜Let Me Roll It’ which surprised me as it’s a remarkably faithful cover, it’s only the feedback soaked outro that varies vastly upon the original.
These are instantly Melvins songs, though are Melvins songs which due to the inclusion of Dunn have taken a side-step as opposed to a change in direction ”“ I guess if mixed differently, add a second percussive unit and they could have been included on any of the previous seventeen Melvins albums.
The Melvins are always experimental so ”˜Freak Puke’ does not sit under that umbrella, consider it more of the result of a friend coming to stay; he wants to take part, he wants his presence felt but he would never be so rude as to dominate proceedings.

Melvins Lite ”“ as uncompromising as The Melvins, just not as fattening!!

Freak Puke – Tracklisting:

1.Mr. Rip Off
2.Inner Ear Rupture
3.Baby, Won’t You Weird Me Out
4.Worm Farm Walt
5.A Growing Disgust
6.Leon vs. The Revolution
7.Holy Barbarians
8.Freak Puke
9.Let Me Roll It
10.Tommy Goes Berserk

Melvins also announced today that they’ll be touring all 50 states + Washington D.C. in 51 days!

The Melvins will attempt to become the Guinness World Record holders for the first band to tour the full United States and D.C. in 51 days with a tour kicking off Sept. 5 in Anchorage, Alaska and wrapping up Oct. 25 in Honolulu, Hawaii. “We figured it was time for us to do something REALLY crazy,” said Osborne. “51 shows in 50 states plus 1 on D.C. and all in 51 days? Jeez! I wonder if we can do it?” The tour, which will feature the Melvins Lite line-up of Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Trevor Dunn, also marks the first time in the band’s near 30-year history that they will perform in Alaska, New Hampshire, Delaware and Hawaii.


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