King Buzzo might as well be called "King Tireless" after recently releasing an acoustic solo album, "This Machine Kills Artists", behind two THE MELVINS albums last year, the Mike Dillard reunion album "Tres Cabrones" and the covers album "Everybody Loves Sausages". This time, Buzz Osborne kicks THE MELVINS back into action with another changeup, restoring the unit to a foursome with mainstay drummer Dale Crover, BUTTHOLE SURFERS guitarist Paul Leary, and on bass this time, JD Pinkus, all tied together through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Leary actually takes vocals on "You Can Make Me Wait", "Eyes on You" and "I Get Along (Hollow Moon)", which he also wrote for the album. An unholy alliance, you might wonder? You can be the judge.
"Bride of Crankenstein" lumbers forth with screeching guitar peals and monster fuzz from King Buzzo, Leary and Pinkus. The namesake of the track holds true, blaring and scraping along with Leary's added chunks, plus a bizarre electro filter squeaking through the upfront static. Hold tight, because Leary's song "You Can Make Me Wait" comes afterwards as he yelps into a scrambler and the band changes the vibe to an alt-punk swing, not far off in theory from THE PIXES and THE BREEDERS. The same could be said of the catchy, persnickety "Brass Cupcake", only with cleaner verses and shrieking choruses before the vibe changes to a trashed-up take on seventies rawk. "Brass Cupcake" finishes with a goofy acid outro that oozes minutes-long into the brackish, distorted hellhole awaiting you on "Barcelonan Horseshoe Pit". Is that waterlogged cattle mooing at the end?
By now, the caveat to expect the unexpected with a MELVINS record holds truer than ever. Bearing some hilarious song titles ("Sesame Street Meat" and "Piss Pisstoferson", for example), "Onions Make the Milk Taste Bad" (along with the pukey slide of "Sesame Street Meat") is closer to what most fans would expect featuring chucking and ceasing riff patterns set to Dale Crover's slide-step beat. Buzz Osborne drones with a distant echo like he recorded this track from the opposite end of a sewer tunnel, while he and Paul Leary scratch their frets and twang overtop JD Pinkus' lazed plunks. Before succumbing to complete narcolepsy, the band increases tempo and runs through a loose freestyle.
"Eyes On You" is another alt-punk toe-tapper with handclaps and broken up, filthy vocal tracks from Paul Leary. As might be expected from him, the song is delivered with just enough pep and jive to catch a groove, but all of the excess flotsam hanging about the track keeps it irreverent. The punked-up crash of "Nine Yards" is held back from busting loose with Dale Crover playing behind the beat on the verses and JD Pinkus rambling on the bottom. Crover catches up to the band on the choruses and rackety solo section, purposefully done, of course.
As efficiently (if eccentrically) as "Hold It In" moves along, THE MELVINS push out the 7:36 "The Bunk Up" (outdone by the cracked 12:11 marathon jam and ersatz of "House of Gasoline") as Buzz Osborne does a creepy Mark Mothersbaugh impersonation and the band trolls through a grungy take on DEVO's early period minimalism. "The Bunk Up" shifts gears through a booming transition and an accordion-assisted segue setting up the heaviest noise to come. Osborne and Leary follow a transitory power metal plod and heap on so many blaring guitar layers it's enough to torch your speakers.
"Hold It In" is weird, to say the least, but saying that about a MELVINS album is as pointless as saying there are a lot of thugs in the NFL. Most of this album does rock with a…whatever, if you want to consider the KISS base written into "Piss Pisstoferson" is shunted with its cock out, figuratively-speaking. Not exactly holding it in, but what would a MELVINS album be if that were the case?