Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Melvins - Hold It In

I am rather fond of the Melvins. This Washington-based outfit ought to be familiar to most of you, since the list of bands who can legitimately claim to have inspired both Eyehategod and Nirvana is relatively short. Quirky-ass antics and gimmick records aside (though they can't really be separated, since those are big part of the band's charm) the Melvins discography contains the roots of both sludge and grunge, making them one of the most influential bands in rock and metal in the past few decades, even if they don't often get credited as such by the general public. Today, I'll talk a little about their newest full-length effort, Hold It In.

For my personal taste, Melvins music is at its best when the band hovers in the proto-sludge territory that is the closest thing they have to a musical home base. Fortunately for me, this album largely does just that. There are trippy explorations into other sounds and perky pop-rock elements, and those are able to actually be fun because there's enough of a stylistic anchor in place that you don't have to worry about the band wandering off into the woods, tripping over a log, and falling unconscious half-way through the record. Creativity is never a concern with the Melvins, they have a seemingly endless supply of that, but lack of focus often is a legitimate issue. Thus, when the band is able to strike up a solid equilibrium between convention and exploration, as they do here, it's an absolute joy to hear. There's nothing in particular that sets this album apart as notably different, since as I've said it's closer to home base than many of their records, but the fact that the bands wanders around so much stylistically means that a "normal" Melvins record is not the kind of "boy is this stale" criticism that it would be for most bands.

The best testament to this album I can give is that after buying it, I kept it on repeat in my car stereo for about two weeks and I never got tired of it. I don't think it's going to go down as one of the most brilliant or captivating records of the year, but it was eminently listenable and it kept my attention a lot longer than most albums can.

Grade: A-

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