The Melvins Freak Puke

The Melvins Freak Puke
For those who didn't know how to take the Melvins/Big Business line-up with dual drummers, the original three-piece model returns with some highfalutin, jazz-ified skronk to further confuse fans still hoping for another Stoner Witch. Founding guitarist/vocalist Buzz Osbourne and drummer Dale Crover are joined by Tomahawk/Mr. Bungle nonpareil Trevor Dunn on upright bass, hence the "Lite" addition. His oft-bowed bass adds a textural quality, and a rightful instance for experimentation, heretofore unheard since 1999's Maggot/Bootlicker/Crybaby trilogy. While the excellent "Leon vs. the Revolution" and the title track follow Osbourne's usual clubfooted trajectory, Dunn adds an intangible distinction to "Mr. Rip Off" and "Baby Won't You Weird Me Out," with his gentle yet urgent bass tones. "Worm Farm Waltz" has a background clamour similar to Philistines Jr. oddities and the fiery "A Growing Disgust" is a traditional slow-burner that's analogous to the band's Atlantic years. Another superior cover is featured, in Paul McCartney's 1973 chestnut "Let Me Roll It," as Crover totally nails the tune's leisurely shuffle, allowing Osbourne's guitar and voice to echo throughout the room. Though it's doubtful that Freak Puke will compel MTV to reboot their Unplugged series (though it's certainly a worthy candidate), Melvins Lite at once bring the noise to more mature ears and reignite the fan fervour that petered out around 1996's Stag. (Ipecac)