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Melvins: Working With God – “a smorgasbord of ideas”

The stoner legends turn back the clock on their latest LP.

Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover return for more eardrum perforators and given the last 12 months that we’ve all endured, it’s about time we received such likely Melvins treatment.

Along for the ride is original drummer, Mike Dillard, with Crover jumping from behind the skins to assume bass duties.

That ride? Working With God, an album consisting of songs written in 1983 and the second that has been released with this Melvins incarnation – 2013’s Tres Cabrones the first of the tapes to be dusted off and brought into this world.

Over the last 20 years, it’s been difficult to keep up with the band’s output. From remix albums to collaborations, the Melvins have morphed into an otherworldly beast whereby the rules are that there are, indeed, no rules.

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And with that, when comparing Working With God with Tres Cabrones, the former is the better record by some distance. It’s the Melvins showcasing their tourism of sound. A smorgasbord of ideas.

For starters, any band that has TWO songs with the title Fuck You, particularly during these shitty times, deserves attention. Even more so given the second of the songs is a whole 11 seconds long. Yes, this is the Melvins serenading us with their piss-taking antics and not giving a fuck. Have they ever, though?

Melvins - Working With God

And speaking of fucks, the re-imagined version of the Beach BoysI Get Around in (you guessed it) I Fuck Around opens Working With God. It’s the typical playful Melvins and the fun doesn’t stop there, with 1 Brian, The Horse-Faced Goon (yes, there are two of those, too) and later in Hot Fish following suit in a bid to give us the necessary relief during this pandemic.

There’s also those intoxicating junctures that the Melvins have dealt exclusively in since their inception. Those pummelling waves of noise that have influenced a generation and will continue to do so in time.

Negative No No is vintage Melvins while, to put it simply, Bouncing Rick is a skin-shredder of a tune. In fact, given it was written almost 40 years ago, it’s evidently a song way ahead of its time in the pantheon of stoner-infused desert rock, with Osbourne spewing out the kind of gigantic riffs that Kyuss were renowned for in the ’90s.

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Then there’s Caddy Daddy, illuminating the Melvins modus operandi of slowly luring in their quarry. Whilst harnessing that ability to completely frazzle your senses with tone-laden sludge-rock, here those trademark sludgy riffs hit you in slow motion, the remnants oozing into your bones. It’s the best version of the band right here.

Make no mistake, though – those mind-frazzling moments arrive in Boy Mike and Hund. No one does tone like the Melvins and here they deliver their unique amplifier worship with a pair of bowel-shuddering jams.

By releasing yet another album from the vaults of 1983, in Working With God, there’s a clear demonstration of just how the Melvins were so far ahead of time. If we weren’t convinced of that before, then we well and truly should be now.

Working With God is out now via Ipecac Recordings. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

One reply on “Melvins: Working With God – “a smorgasbord of ideas””

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