Working With God
Waiting for any new Melvins release (there might be three in one year and then a two or three year gap, it’s anyone’s guess) is tantalising and worrying; their albums can be frustratingly absurd or mesmeric in their riff-rattling intensity. And, hey, since it’s the Melvins, why not both? Right?
That’s the case I think with Working With God – just the second time this version of the band has recorded, and the first since 2013’s wonderful Tres Cabrones. Original drummer Mike Dillard was gone from the band back in 1983, they’d yet to make a full-length record. But he has been a jobbing player ever since so when the band celebrated its 30th birthday (with the aforementioned record, one of three in that year, each record featuring a slightly different line-up) Dale Crover, the band’s drummer since 1984, simply switched on over to bass (an instrument he plays in other projects). That’s the same deal here. For most of the last decade the Melvins has been King Buzzo and Dale Crover and whoever else they want to have with them – for a time there they simply integrated a whole other band into the fold.
So Working With God is what they call the Original Lineup and it’s remarkable how good it is for what is arguably a very part-time band.
Also, Melvins just delight in being puerile and that’s very obvious with this album – the opener is a cover of The Beach Boys’ I Get Around renamed I Fuck Around and, yes, every single time you’re getting ready to hear the word ‘Get’ you are given the word ‘Fuck’. It will wear thin but I’m still in the honeymoon phase and finding it to be the dumbest/best kind of giggle.
Fortunately, straight after that absurdity this version of the band hits us with three big walls of sludge to help build another monument to stoner metal. Negative No No rides on yet another relentless Buzz-killing-it riff, Bouncing Rick has cartoonish punk energy and Caddy Daddy is a hark back to the best lighter in the air sludge-fests of late-90s Melvins.
The silliness is never far away though and after that triumphant triumvirate we have Brian The Horse-Faced Goon, little more than a chant of those exact words, but why make a one-note joke when you can repeat the same song in two different styles? Yeah man, the Melvins will always do whatever the fuck they want.
Harry Nilsson’s Breakin’ My Heart (aka Fuck You) is here covered as simply “Fuck You” and, again, it’s gonna wear thin but for right now I’m digging it, it’s wiping away those Cee Lo Green memories.
The Great Good Place is another search-and-destroy riff, Hot Fish is actually too much grease and sludge for me – and frankly not enough song but Hund is the Melvins at their punk-metal fusing best.
Time for a closing absurdity, Goodnight Sweet Heart’s backwards vocal creepy chant and then an a capella that feels like all its missing is Mike Patton.
Not one of the band’s greatest things ever but there’s enough magic here to keep me satiated until next time. God, I love the Melvins. Long live the Melvins.
You can support Off The Tracks via PressPatron