With a history as long and influential as The Melvins, it’s worth paying attention when a new album comes out. Now, under the moniker Melvins Lite (which features Buzz Osborne on guitars/vocals, Dale Crover on drums, and Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn), the group is releasing Freak Puke, the first album since 2004’s Pigs of the Roman Empire to feature a different line-up than the current four-piece (Osborne, Crover, Jared Warren (bass), Coady Willis (drums)). So how does this 18th studio album fare? Read on for the answer!
Starting with “Mr. Big”, the album begins like a horror movie. Bassist Trevor Dunn utilizes the bow on his double bass to create some truly eerie progressions. This continues for nearly a minute and a half before the song enters a strangely psychedelic classic rock vibe. It’s an odd track, full of strange, oddly soothing melodies that shouldn’t make me feel as comfortable as they did.
The album consistently has this strange schizophrenic presentation with the songs. It’s not that the trio is uncertain of where to go and when. Rather, they know precisely when to shake things up, slipping into a very dark, creepy place before returning full on into their thick, sludgy jazz rock sound.
From a production stand point, Freak Puke is very raw and unpolished. However, with this style of music, it fits perfectly. The untethered sounds of the instruments only serve to accentuate the unpredictability of the songs. I have to give kudos to Trevor Dunn as his bass skills, especially those on the double bass, are in fine form here. The low end is beautifully filled here.
The Final Word: While I realize that Freak Puke is something I normally wouldn’t seek out on my own, there is something irresistibly charming about how filthy and insane of an album Melvins Lite have constructed.
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