Melvins – Houdini

Melvins Houdini album art








1993 Atlantic Records

Every once in a while a band will hit a creative mother lode and put out two or three albums in a row that are basically interchangeable in all the good ways. Clutch’s one-two punch of “Blast Tyrant” and “Robot Hive/Exodus” is a great example…just put ’em in media player or on your iPod and just hit shuffle play.

Melvins have done it with this disc and it’s ludicrously cool follow-up “Stoner Witch.” For the uninitiated, be forewarned that Melvins are indeed a concept and universe all their own. They’re just as likely to hit you with 4 minutes of controlled feedback and a sloth-slow drumbeat as they are to blow your sorry woofers with a hard-hitting workout like “Honey Bucket.” An open mind and sense of humour are most definitely required in the weird wild world of Melvins.

Opener “Hooch” pretty much sets the table for this eclectic and heavy aural feast, bridging the gap between Black Sabbath and Kyuss without sounding derivative, and their cover of KISS’s classic “Goin’ Blind” is really quite excellent.

I dunno…they’re definitely a HEAVY band and deserve their notoriety as the godfathers of grunge. Still raw and crusty after all these years, Houdini was the first of a trifecta of albums that were the only Melvins releases on a major label. What’s really cool is that there was no compromise…the attitude and sound were quite intact on all three discs.

It’s hard to pick out specific individual songs as favorites on an album like this, as it’s best ingested as a whole. If I have to pic faves there would be the aforementioned “Honey Bucket,” “Night Goat,” “Sky Pup,” “Lizzy” and “Pearl Bomb.” Hell, I could name them all really because when I’m in that weird, late night, Adult Swim kinda mood, a good Melvins disc like this satisfies every time.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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