thu 27/06/2019

CD: Mudhoney - Digital Garbage | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Mudhoney - Digital Garbage

CD: Mudhoney - Digital Garbage

Grunge's unsung pioneers sound vital as ever

"Wish you were here"

Mudhoney are a constant in a changing world. When they first burst into our consciousness 30 years ago, few would have put their mortgage on the band’s longevity. They were an urgent burst of punk-fuelled grunge: sprawling, exciting and comfortably dumb.

They were the grunge blueprint and, in part, the reason for their staying power may well be the fact that they’ve never stayed too far from it. Digital Garbage is no exception, showing Mudhoney to be a band as comfortable in their sound as they are uncomfortable in the world around them. 

This discomfort is highlighted throughout and is mostly directed towards religion, both in humanity’s blind acquiescence and its hijacking by con men “Please Mr Gunman”, “21st Century Pharisees” and “Messiah’s Lament” are both unforgiving and direct, but amidst the snarling contempt for its subjects is a trademark humour. “Paranoid Core”, “Prosperity Gospel” and “Next Mass Extinction”, are similarly bleak and shot through with moments of dark comedy: “Nothing will replace us/Nothing will replace us/Nothing will replace us/In the next mass extinction” intones Arm, whose voice has lost none of its impact over three decades and 10 studio albums. 

Speaking of impact, musically, the album punches from the very first. Showing every bit of the energy that defined their early albums, this is a phenomenal blast of fuzz and fury. If the lyrics seem to broadly share a common concern, the music has an even stronger sense of coherence. “Nerve Attack” opens the album with a shot across the bows of what is to come: punk-flecked garage rock with riffs that sound inexplicably familiar and instantly worm their way into your psyche and go about the serious business of being brilliant fun. 

Added to Mark Arm’s furious Dorian Gray voice, Steve Turner, Dan Peters and Guy Maddison also sound every bit as vital, inspiring and exciting as they ever did. Like someone boldly taking a staircase two at a time, they retain perfect balance even when they sound perilously close to tumbling. That makes for a thrilling listen… it always has done.


Mudhoney are a band as comfortable in their sound as they are uncomfortable in the world around them


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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