Pinkus Abortion Technician
Keeping up with Melvins albums is a little like following Mark Kozelek – there are similar dips in quality too, all over the place, mostly gloriously so, and defiance is their right; one long ago earned. I’ve got a lot of work to do catching up with both – or I don’t. But this is a fun listen. Some diehards might tell you it’s not up to scratch, but it always depends what you want from Buzz, Dale and whoever else happens to be on board.
I reckon this one’s a wee riot – some great jams here. On hand with most-recent regular Melvins bassist Steve McDonald is Jeff Pinkus. You may remember him from Butthole Surfers. You may remember they had an album called Locust Abortion Technician. So there’s the connection – the reason this album is titled Pinkus Abortion Technician.
The double bass-player thing has been part of Melvins’ shtick – and/or groove – for some time now. As has the tracklisting filling up with more and more cover versions. Here we hear a couple of Butthole covers, a Beatles song and plenty of Pinkus co-writes.
We open with Stop Moving To Florida – a sandwiching of the James Gang’s straight-ahead rocker Stop and the Surfers’ hillbilly-punk-jam Stop Moving To Florida. It’s a kick-ass intro to a mostly feel-good record. Embrace the Rub flies by in under two minutes, Don’t Forget To Breathe stretches out to eight. There’s no rhyme or reason here, just exploration. Little bits and pieces of things you’ve heard from the Melvins on other records – they might have set a new record for band most capable of repeating themselves in order to strike new ground. Everything sounds the same, and just a little different. It’s all so instantly identifiable yet there’s a new pinch of seasoning each time.
Flamboyant Duck is buoyed by the elasticity of a banjo duelling with bass, the rendition of I Want To Hold Your Hand is one of those faithful-transmogrifications like their earlier take on The Who’s My Generation (which was only three years ago – but some half-dozen albums separate these two shining covers). Actually, much of Pinkus reminds me of My Generation’s parent-album, The Bride Screamed Murder, in that the “diplomatic” review would call them both non-essential but charming-enough catalogue-entries.
Well, I love this album, as I did that one – as I have most of the Melvins records I’ve heard and owned. This is reminding me to head back to Hold It In and Tres Cabrones and Everybody Loves Sausages and Basses Loaded, albums that I loved in the last few years by this band – and from there I’ll need to try catch up on some of the others. And of course there’s always time for the early and mid-period highlights from this magic band. Always.
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