The Melvins Hold It In
Published Oct 10, 2014The Melvins' 15-year run on Mike Patton's Ipecac label is one of the few modern equivalents to John Coltrane's immensely prolific output for Impulse! in the mid-1960s. Both labels provided a supportive structure that encouraged the artists to push their respective creative ambitions, sometimes resulting in multiple album releases each year, record sales be damned. Where this comparison falls apart a bit is that, unlike Coltrane's singular musical vision, the Melvins have tended to follow their muse down all manner of twisted rabbit holes. Occasionally, these experiments fall flat, but more recently, they've resulted in some inspired collaborations between the core members — singer/guitarist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover — and numerous other alt-rock luminaries.
Such is the case with Hold It In, which sees the Melvins absorb Butthole Surfers members Paul Leary and Pinkus for a raucous ride into burly riff country. As with last year's Tres Cabrones (featuring a version of the Melvins' 1983 lineup), this ensemble is a nod to the past; the combination of weirdo-metal legends propels the band's iconic sound towards the dinosaur stomp of '90s efforts like Houdini and Stag. As usual, Osborne and Crover effortlessly navigate a vast range of sonic territory; check the way the disjointed verses of "The Bunk Up" dissolve into an accordion-coloured breakdown before exploding into a lengthy stoner-rock guitar solo or the (yet another) iconic riff that powers opener "Bride of Crankenstein."
Typical Melvins sidebars, like the Bowie-esque "You Can Make Me Wait" and the country-fried "I Get Along (Hollow Moon)" are typically forgettable, once again highlighting the band's tendency to sacrifice the trajectory of a truly great record in order to throw in a few musical punch lines. No one ever accused the Melvins of being boring — despite calling the record Hold It In, it's overflowing with ideas and creativity. (Ipecac)