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Mudhoney

Mudhoney

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Album Review

Mudhoney's first self-titled album came as a bit of a disappointment after the group's initial singles, and from the distance of over a decade it's even more of a sore thumb in the band's extensive discography. It's good, to be sure, but not great; the essential spark of the band got a bit lost over 40 minutes, where in three minutes' space the quartet could be the best act on the planet. Then again, arguably Mudhoney was trying to figure out how to make a full album work with their sound, and if it's not a perfect listen as a whole, there are still some great songs to hear. Jack Endino's production lives up to his reputation for rough, thick recording, but he's left just enough for the songs to breathe, whether it's the audible handclaps on "This Gift" or the quirky guitar riff leading into Dan Peters' rollicking drum rolls on "You Got It." "When Tomorrow Hits" is easily the sleeper hit of the record; later memorably covered by Sonic Boom in the dying days of Spacemen 3, its slow, dreamily threatening build shows off the band's ability for subtlety amidst the volume. "Flat out F****d" about sums up the whole ethos of the album — careening pace, compressed feedback roar, and Mark Arm's desperate but never self-important singing resulting in neo-garage rock anti-anthems. About as good is the brilliantly titled instrumental "Magnolia Caboose Babyshit," which gives Steve Turner and Arm a chance to show off some crazy acid rock/proto-funk guitar that avoids sucking, always a pleasure. A couple of draggy numbers and others that take a good idea but almost run too much with it ("Come to Mind," well, comes to mind) keep things from fully working, but next time out Mudhoney would have the perfect combination down.

Biography

Formed: 1988 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Nirvana may have been the band that put an entire generation in flannel, and Pearl Jam and Soundgarden both sold a lot more records, but Mudhoney were truly the band that made the '90s grunge rock movement possible. Mudhoney were the first real success story for Sub Pop Records; their indie-scene success laid the groundwork for the movement that would (briefly) make Seattle, Washington, the new capital of the rock & roll universe; and they took the sweat-soaked and beer-fueled mixture of heavy...
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Mudhoney, Mudhoney
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