Melvins – ‘Pinkus Abortion Technician’

By Liam Knowles

Melvins have been going since 1983. Just let that sink in for a minute. For thirty-five years, Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover have been completely ignoring trends and doing their own thing, which has put them in that rare position of being an iconic and monumentally influential band whilst remaining just underground enough that your ‘cool uncle who likes a bit of metal’ has never heard of them. This position has allowed them to do pretty much whatever they want, whenever they want, because basically fuck you they’re the Melvins. On ‘Pinkus Abortion Technician’ the core duo have decided to draft in two bassists to add an additional layer of low end filth to their already famously sleazy sound. In their own words from their press release – ‘We’ve never had two bass players. We’ve had two drummers and two guitar players so it makes total sense to now have two bass players.’ Sure, why not?

Things start innocuously enough, as the first two minutes of ‘Stop Moving To Florida’ glide smoothly along like an innocent slab of classic rock a-la Lynyrd Skynyrd before dissolving into agitated yelling and spending the next three minutes in a Primus-esque cacophony, combining the aforementioned dual-bass attack with sneering vocals and bizarre lyrics like ‘I’m gonna cut off my leg down in Florida, child. And I’m gonna dance one-legged down in the rain.’ In true Melvins style they keep the audience guessing right from track one and continue this unpredictability throughout the record.

Melvins draw from seemingly unlimited influences to create their unique and dynamic sound. They lean in to their punk side on the manic ‘Embrace The Rub’ and then seamlessly switch to bass heavy, fuzzed-out blues on ‘Don’t Forget To Breathe’, the latter of which features what sounds like a banjo riff, but also has a slight oriental feel that shouldn’t work but it absolutely does. Then there’s ‘Flamboyant Duck’ that sounds like a Melvins take on a Pixies song. No two tracks on this record sound the same but there’s still an impressive sense of coherency on display in terms of it feeling like an album rather than just a collection of random tracks.

The production on ‘Pinkus Abortion Technician’ is excellent throughout. The guitar tone is thick and compliments the abundant low end, particularly on the slower riffs. The chunky chord changes in ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ add a weight to the Beatles classic that no other band would have thought to add, and closer ‘Grave Yard’ trades hypnotic lead lines with a churning rhythm and multi-layered vocals to give a sludgy end to this peculiar but excellent record. There’s a reason Melvins have stood the test of time and not become a parody of themselves like many of their peers; they still just make the music they themselves want to hear and don’t care one bit about anything else. Here’s to many more years of the same.

 

LIAM KNOWLES

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