The Melvins The Crybaby

The third in the Melvins twisted Ipecac trilogy, The Crybaby is perhaps the single most ambitious and eclectic release the Melvins have ever attempted, and that's saying something. While The Maggot and The Bootlicker showcased the Melvins at their more extreme and serene, The Crybaby is a diverse, collaborative and genre-bending excursion featuring the Melvins playing collaborator/devil's advocate/backing band to a host of guests. Leif Garrett takes grunge by the horns for a truly inspired take on Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Done very straight, there's something very unsettling about a fallen '70s icon covering a dead '90s icon's reluctant anthem. David Yow (Jesus Lizard) pops up for a couple of spastic vocal freak-outs, "Blockbuster" and "Dry Drunk" (with Godzik Pink), as does Ipecac co-founder Mike Patton, whose sample laden "G.I. Joe" is as captivating is it is bizarre. Foetus, Skeleton Key, Bliss Blood and Kevin Sharp (Brutal Truth) all contribute standout performances, but the most outstanding would have to be the Hank Williams III and Henry Bogdan (Helmet) covers of "Ramblin' Man" and "Okie From Muskogee" (Hank Williams and Merle Haggard, respectively) and Tool's ominous "Divorced." It takes a certain kind of band to tackle three albums in less than year, make them all drastically different and somehow make them all fit into a singular vision, but the Melvins have done it and shown in the process that the scope of their musical vision is only outweighed by the depth of their talent. (Ipecac)