In a sense, Mudhoney began in 1980 when a teenaged Mark McLaughlin (who would later change his name to Mark Arm) formed a band called Mr. Epp and the Calculations with some friends from a local Seattle suburb. The catch was that none of them knew how to play at the time. Mr. Epp didn't start playing live until 1981, and was quickly regarded as a waste of time soon afterward. Dispite this, the band released an EP in 1982. They then recruited Steve Turner as a second guitarist in an effort to appear more serious. They released the "Live As All Get Out" cassette just before things began to look down for the band. After their demise, Mark and Turner had become close friends and played with a punk band called the Limp Richards untill breaking up in 1984.
Arm and Turner then joined with a drummer named Alex Vincent and bassist Jeff Ament who had just arrived from Montana. The band recruited Stone Gossard on the guitar so Arm could focus on vocals, and the product was the band that is credited with being the first true grunge band, Green River. Along with the Melvins, Green River became quickely noticed and released the Come On Down EP in 1985. Soon afterward Turner had left the band to be replaced with guitarist Bruce Fairweather. Green River's nationwide tour bombed, simply beacause their debut album was delayed and the band ended up supporting an album that hadn't come out yet. After the disasterous tour had concluded, the band put out the EP Dry As A Bone on a local Seattle label called Sub Pop Records in 1987. By the time their debut album Rehab Doll was released in '88, tension had settled between members. Ament and Gossard went on to form Mother Love Bone, Fairweather joined Love Battery, and Vincent pursued a career in law.
Turner and Arm then focused primarily on the Green River side band Thrown Ups. Both of them began rehearsing their new material with a drummer named Dan Peters. They had easy access to bassist Matt Lukin who had recently left the Melvins. After settling down a little and getting used to the new music, the band renamed themselves Mudhoney. Turner had actually expected the band to last no more then six months. In '88, their first single ("Touch Me I'm Sick") was released on Sub Pop as well as their first EP Superfuzz Bigmuff. After much touring and a demand for bands producing the quickly-growing "Seattle Sound", Mudhoney released their first full-length self-titled debut in late '89.
Holy sh*t, this is getting pretty long. My last review was rated out of 5, but it was a tad too restricting, so I'm going out of 10. After much anticipation, here's the review.
Judgment, Rage, Retribution, and Thyme - 9/10
This song had me hooked on Mudhoney as soon as I heard the opening riff. This song could be called the grungiest of grunge. It's raw, heavy, and short. A great way to start out an album by a band like this. You'll never need to skip this track, mainly for the reasons listed above. The lyrics are pretty simple, dealing with fear and anguish. Overall, one of the best songs on the album.
Generation Spokesmodel - 6/10
Not a bad followup. It's got a little lighter mood but keeping with the raw riffs. Near the end it starts to feel kind of choppy and repetitive, though. The lyrics are good and talk about the appeal of celebrities to kids. About halfway through the song a nice Steve Turner solo is featured. Nothing to write home about (love the cliche) but don't feel the need to skip.
What Moves the Heart? - 5/10
Adequate. Not much to say about this song. A slower, softer song, which never hurts to have here and there. The lyrics are alright, but really, really
repetitive. Feel free to skip, as the next song is definitely worth it.
Today Is a Good Day - 9.5/10
Great song! TIGD proves that Mudhoney really likes those kinds of guitar intros, and this one isn't exactly creative compared to the other songs. Don't worry, it picks up after the vocals start. Good lyrics about living in a sh*tty town are featured. It's a pretty fast-paced song, with a pretty loud chorus. Probably the best song on the album along with the first track.
Into Yer Shtik - 7/10
Into Yer Shtik sorta gets faster as the song progresses. Each time the verse runs through, the tempo seems to pick up untill the end when it seems about twice as loud as the intro. The lyrics aren't bad, and basically say "I hate you for all that stuff you're always doing". This track is sort of the expeced Mudhoney (which isn't bad at all). Very likeable overall.
In My Finest Suit - 8.5/10
Another great one. Slow and quiet, it's pretty soft but still loaded with loveable grunge. The main riff is pretty creative and a slow solo tops it off. After the chorus, you can really tell that he's "Got a lot to lose" if you catch my drift. I guess a little more on the blues side, a really good tune overall.
F.D.K. (Fearless Doctor Killers) - 7/10
Mudhoney's punk roots really show through here. I'm not big on punk at all, but this is still a pretty good song. The chorus features a type of semi-solo (didn't know what to call it) which sets a good mood for the song. In the end, it's pretty well rounded and easy to listen to.
Orange Ball-Peen Hammer - 4/10
Not much to say here. It sound like they tried to combine Judgement, Rage, Retribution, and Thyme, and In My Finest Suit into one song. To sum up, it didn't really work. In the end, it just sounds weird like someone gave a country and western fan an electric guitar and a heroin needle (even the lyrics seem like it).
Crankcase Blues - 6.5/10
A nice basic song. Very simple, but it's a breath of fresh air after the last song. It's got several funk-like riffs to give it a little kick. The lyrics are cool and compare a person's life to a broken-down car. Not too bad, but not the greatest.
Execution Style - 6/10
Sound pretty generic in the beginning, but quickly becomes the angriest song on the album. Most of the remotely violent lyrics are screemed and backed by repeated guitar. Basically the highlite of the song is the sonstant screeming.
Dissolve - 5.5/10
Lyrically, very weak. I think there was about 30 seconds of originality and 2 minutes of repeating. Nice music though - still light, but still going strong. Too bad the album seems to be getting weaker as the album progresses...
1995 - 7.5/10
Not a bad way to end things. The music is pretty heavy and the lyrics are basically sung about the current times they live in. Pretty long compared to the rest of the album, but strangely, never really seems to get boring. Sort of a punch in the face from the start. Feel free to skip down here.
woC eht rehtorB yM (Hidden Track) - ?/10
I hate to spoil the surprise, but I'm trying to make this review complete. This song is actually the last 33 minutes and some seconds of the album played backwards. I'm not going to rate it because it's not really much of a song, and the beginning is sort of freakish to listen to. Not much of a point to it overall, except to make the album longer.
And that's it. This album is widely considered to be Mudhoney's best album, and definitely is compared to the other album of their's I own (Five Dollar Bob's Mock Cooter Stew). If you're looking to get into grunge, shoot for some more commercial bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. But for a huge fan of the genre, this album is must-have for a complete CD collection.
Judgement, Rage, Retributution, and thyme
Today Is a Good Day
In My Finest Suit
F.D.K (Fearless Doctor Killers)
Rating - 3.5/5