Album Review: The Melvins - Hold It In

Friday, February 6, 2015

Balanced isn’t a word that is usually used to describe a Melvins album (or the members of the band for that matter), however for The Melvins latest release Hold It In, their 21st in the studio, it’s an apt description. There is enough weird to keep the music "explorationists" out there satisfied, the offerings are catchy enough to bounce around in your head, and the usual Melvins quota of riffs and groove could even make the most stubborn heads bang.

Recently celebrating The Melvins 30th anniversary in 2013, permanent members Buzz Osbourne (Vocals/Lead guitar) and Dale Crover (drums/backing vocals) have welcomed Butthole Surfers founder and general all round 90’s rock stalwart Paul Leary (guitar/lead vocals/backing vocals) and the Surfers current bass player JD Pinkus (bass/lead vocals/backup vocals).

From the opening, unmistakeable and Melvinesque crunchy opening riff of Bride of Crankenstein to the 7 excess minutes of ambient noise and drums that end out the last song House of Gasoline, the album shows time and time again how much of an influence this band has had on 90’s and modern music. It is a testament to the original members' extraordinary knack to keep the band fresh while holding on to the same ideas and sounds that birthed an entire genre, and directly influenced a large portion of alternative and pop music in the 90’s.

With Nine Yards showing hints of a Soundgarden/punk thrash feel and the seven-minute-something mood swinging odyssey The Bunk Up throwing up hints of Faith No More there is literally something for every Melvins and alternative fan on this album.

Brass Cupcakes is a pop song in punk clothing that gets subtly more and more complex as you listen, and one of the 3 Leary credited tracks I Get Along (Hollow Moon) are both examples of the right amount of upbeat and fun to offset the slightly more experimental and sludgy slow grower  Barcelonian Horseshoe Pit (I swear I’m not making these song names up myself)

The addition of Paul Leary (song writing and input on guitar in particular), brings with him previous experience from working with the likes of Sublime, U2 and Stone Temple Pilots, which have helped bring new ideas to the band. Ideas that merge fluently with what established fans would expect from an album bearing The Melvins name.

Hold It In holds its own up alongside previous releases like A Senile Animal and Stoner Witch, but those after sounds from a little more down the other road (example: Electroretard) might not find this as appealing. For anyone who hasn’t heard the Melvins before it’s as great a starting point as any, with the added bonus of a seemingly unending back catalogue to explore afterwards.

Rating: 8/10
Written by David Undy