The Melvins are a band I always thought I was supposed to like. Some of the bands I truly adore are heavily influenced by them – Tool, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Mastodon, Down, Crowbar, and Baroness – so I’m not quite sure why I just never picked up any Melvins albums until now.
I was stupid. What else can I say?
The album I ended up picking up was a newly reissued release that combined two of the band’s earlier albums and offered them up as one remastered smorgasbord of sound. The Bulls & The Bees/Electroretard couldn’t have been a more perfect entry for me into the band’s music.
Now, I’m not saying I’ve become a giant Melvins fan by any stretch of the imagination, but the music and sounds of this particular collection made me go hunt through their entire catalog to see what else I might like. All told, I found some albums that I’m truly upset with myself for having missed up until now. Funnily, two of the albums that strike me the most out of the entire list up until this one happen to be the two on this release.
Electroretard comes across as a complete art rock experiment in sound. There are some raucous moments that are pure rock, such as the cover of “Youth of America” by the Wipers. However, there are also some that are pure trippy brilliance and sonic hallucination, like their take on “Interstellar Overdrive” by Pink Floyd – or even fresh takes on some of their own back-catalog numbers such as “Revolve” or “Gluey Porch Treatments”.
It was a bit surreal to hear these versions first and then go back and see that this wasn’t the first time they’d released these songs. Perhaps not surprisingly, I found myself enjoying the version I heard first the most out of the two – but talk about making me appreciate the band and its musical chops.
Speaking of musical chops, though, the truth of the matter is that one record stands out (to my ears, at least) out of the studio releases I’ve sampled by the Melvins, and it’s the front portion of this album: the remastered The Bulls & The Bees.
Whether they intended it or not – I’m never sure if the band is being serious or taking the piss out of a song, as it were – but there are some heavy ass grooves on this album that just cut through me and have me hitting repeat several times any time I pick it up to listen to.
The opening track “The War on Wisdom” is just so loaded with heavy-footed stomping power and some heavy fuzzed-out guitars that just all sing together in a groove pocket full of melody. From there it just goes on and on. Long before the last guitar lick, I’ve found myself wanting to hear it all again. Which means, ultimately, the world has one more Melvins fan.
Should you decide to give this album a chance as well, maybe that number will increase by two!