Oh, what King Buzzo must dream about in his sleep.
It seems the prolific Buzz Osbourne and his revolving MELVINS troupe are wrapping on new product every few months, before tearing up the road as only they can. The band hit every state in the union plus Washington, D.C. in 51 days—unprecedented lunacy—before heading over to Europe. Then again, they haven't actually toured since 2014's "Hold it In", and Osbourne's solo album "This Machine Kills Artists", so here we go with the MELVINS' umpteenth record, "Basses Loaded".
Accordingly, the title alone suggests an umpteenth wacky concept sprung from beneath Osbourne's fluffy Sideshow Bob coif. Six, count 'em six bass players appearing on "Basses Loaded". These include the usual suspects—Dale Crover, Jeff Pinkus and Jared Warren (also from BIG BUSINESS)—current bassist Steve McDonald (REDD KROSS/OFF!), as well as Trevor Dunn (FANTOMAS/MR. BUNGLE), who played on "Freak Puke", and, get ready for this: NIRVANA's Krist Novoselic.
Dale Cover and Steve McDonald grab an even four appearances apiece on "Basses Loaded", crazy in concept, sheer awesome sauce in delivery. Steve McDonald strolls through the lumbering opener "The Decay of Lying", while Dale Cover matches him with a stumblebum groove behind the smashed slush of "Beer Hippie". It should be no surprise that McDonald plunks along happily on a crunky cover of "I Want to Tell You" by THE BEATLES, given REDD KROSS's infatuation with mod and flower rock. McDonald's contribution to the sludge-dancing "War Pussy" is pure MELVINS grue, ditto for Dale Crover's grumbling wads behind the meaty riff-fest of "Phyllis Dillard".
Jared Warren inherits a lot of space on the groovy and ultimately weird (though nothing is weirder on this album than the reworked Dr. Demento staple "Shaving Cream") "Choco Plumber" endowing the song's hum. It becomes a competition as to what's filthier on "Captain Come Down", Jeff Pinkus's gooey globs or King Buzzo's scratchy guitar rakes. The song peels out after a shambling stretch, pouring on the sweat here and into the drippy craze of "Hideous Woman", where Steve McDonald jerks and tugs with as much possessed sling as Buzz Osbourne.
Trevor Dunn hilariously plays foil to Osbourne on "Planet Destructo", dropping freeform stand-up bass in a showcase performance. Sometimes he's playing in time to the track, most of the time he's rambling in isolation like he's in an adjoining jazz studio when King Buzzo jacks the distortion. One of the highlight moments on "Basses Loaded" is when the two jam to their hearts' content (more so Dunn) alongside the straggly drum slaps scattered about them.
Krist Novoselic gives an understated appearance on the zany, accordion-assisted, which he plays, "Maybe I'm Amused". You can figure this to be a poke at Paul McCartney (i.e. "Maybe I'm Amazed") with its madcap mod sway. Considering it took NIRVANA as acolytes to properly expose the MELVINS to the rock world, Novoselic's involvement on "Basses Loaded" is a classy gesture from both sides.
"Basses Loaded" is hardly a gimmick record. It's yet another exhibition of why the MELVINS are one of America's most essential bands. Whether they take two drummers out on tour or, wet-dream fulfillment, they do a special gig with all six bassists appearing on this slab, a MELVINS event is the event of its respective fragment of time.