Twenty years after first forming, Mudhoney, the inspirational, perennial underground rock band, are back with their eighth full-length album. The Lucky Ones represents a return to the stripped-down, no-nonsense style of their Jack Endino early days. Armed with a large amount of material and expecting a lengthy process the band finished recording and overdubbing it all in just under four days. Even after mixing it was still done in record time. Vocalist Mark Arm summed up the band’s feelings – “We decided that since everything came together so serendipitously that we shouldn’t fuck with it.”
The fact they’ve entered the studio, pressed play on the tape, let rip and got out quick has certainly given this album a truly raw edge. Sure it’s neater and crisper than when they first tried it but you have to admire their confidence. Crude and cutting, it’s instantly noticeable as opener ‘I’m Now’ is all piledriving, muffled guitar pomp and body-shifting beats with Mark Arm’s curl-lipped vocal tunelessly blurting a volley of spiked, fighting spirit. It’s simply structured but with a belting rock-solid chorus that has an insistent lyrical hook that sticks – “The past made no sense, the future looks tense, I’m now!”
There’s much that follows suit but another standout track is ‘The Open Minds’ which features a battering bass that threatens to blast out the sub-woofer. A caterwauling vocal plays over fluxing guitar fuzz which finds an unsettling hedonistic chance to lead and goes with it before falling back into line.
There’s certainly nothing that will send you to sleep with every track racing in at under five minutes; most of the hit and run variety. Take the mere three minutes of ‘And The Shimmering Light’ which is all sunshine-happy, bobbing along all tuned-in before dropping out into a psychedelic trance of stoned keys and guitar. Just as quickly it all flicks back into life with Arm repeatedly wailing “there’s no word for how you feel” before comically adding “…not even in German“. Sorry, what was that? … I blinked.Sure, Mudhoney haven’t done anything spectacular here; they’re not shaking it up or challenging themselves. They’re still stuck in their well-worn groove, one that they know and are comfortable in. But then I can’t think of a better way to celebrate their 20th birthday than by giving their fans an album that they’d love; one that proves they’re still the kings of fuzz-fuelled garage rock.
Also online @ TLOBF = http://www.thelineofbestfit.com/2008/06/mudhoney-the-lucky-ones/