Everybody Loves Sausages
With this covers album the Melvins are – as they always seem to be – both sincere and totally taking the piss. They’re also celebrating their 30th anniversary. Here’s a band that’s been punk, metal, grunge – sludge. Call it what you will, they’ve done it all, informed so much of what others working in those areas tried to do and they’ve transcended the grunge movement, they were there at the start – even before the start, well before the start, and they’re still there now.
They do what they want. They always have. They always will.
So Everybody Loves Sausages is a bunch of songs – like most covers albums from established artists – that provides some clues as to where the Melvins came from, what they listened to, what they got sidetracked by.
And while there’s nothing here that’s as great or crucial as the best original material from the band, there’s also not a single dud, nothing they shouldn’t have covered.
And the slow-lurch they add to the intro of their version of Station to Station is wonderful, giving it a post-apocalyptic crunch. The too-happy and somewhat left field-by-inclusion take on Queen’s Your My Best Friend is hilarious. And spot on. You can imagine the band digging the song. Or digging the idea that you think they might or might not dig the song. Or both.
There are guest vocalists and there are times when Buzz steps up to nail it. There are songs that probably didn’t need to be covered again (like Black Betty) but are still a bit of fun. And then there’s a small handful of brilliant, surprising, wonderful song reinventions. Only Melvins could cover Divine and make it seem like a kick-ass new song while wanting, no doubt, to pay tribute to the original. In fact it comes closest here to sounding like an original Melvins track.
The nine minutes of Roxy Music’s In Every Dream A Heartache is near enough to career-best from the band, certainly Jello Biafra’s mugging, grinning, sublime Brian Ferry impersonation deserves kudos.
And it all ends so perfectly with Throbbing Gristle’s Heathen Earth. There’s a band you can – in some strange but rather obvious way – compare to Melvins. Playing by their own rules, ruling over a cult of fans for so long, never disappointing the faithful, always relevant even while playing, for the most part, from the sideline/s. So often jaw-droppingly good.
Goddamn I love the Melvins. And though I’ll welcome more new material from them – and require it a.s.a.f.p – they’ve never let me down. And here they provided a few more clues about the things (songs, anyway) that help make them tick.
Everybody Loves Sausages is good. Sometimes it’s great. Sometimes it almost grates. Melvins records are all a bit like that. And that’s wonderful. Every time.