Review Summary: Mudhoney put together a compilation of early singles, covers and an EP. While the first half is a piece of grunge brilliance, the second half falls flat on it's ass.
The term ‘grunge’ is used quite frequently nowadays. From modern bands like Seether, to their influences such as Nirvana. The word is used to describe raw, dirty-sounding hard rock and bands that came from the original Seattle scene. When people discuss what band successfully started ‘grunge’, it is usually the most popular choice Nirvana. This is the casual listener’s opinion. While they did popularize it and feed it to millions of angst-filled teenagers worldwide through adding on catchy hooks and choruses to the aggressive sound the genre had, they certainly weren’t the first ones to do this. Dinosaur Jr. and our main subject Mudhoney are generally considered the true pioneers of the sound (while Mudhoney owing themselves to Mark Arm‘s first band Green River). Both bands are aggressive in the tone of their music but are still melodious and aren’t afraid of catchy choruses.
Superfuzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles is a compilation consisting of the Superfuzz Bigmuff EP and a mix of b-sides and two covers. The title is taken from the fuzz pedals the band use to give them their signature sound (Super Fuzz and Big Muff Pi pedals). “Touch Me I’m Sick” is probably the song most people notice Mudhoney for (it was also the first single Sub-Pop released) with “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More” as it’s respected B-side. Burn It Clean is a B-side from the “You Got It (Keep It Outta My Face)”. The album also plays host of two covers, one being Sonic Youth’s “Halloween” and the other being The Dicks’ “Hate The Police”. The rest of the album is simply the EP Superfuzz Bigmuff.
This album is a complete love and hate for me. Everything up to Halloween is superb material but sadly, the EP on the album seems a lot more to be desired. It’s plain and boring from what I can hear and since this takes up most of the album, the score is chopped off quite a bit. The first half is great though. Mark shouting “Touch me I’m sick! Fuck
me I’m sick!” is orgasmic but it doesn’t stop there, his vocals are quite the highlight of the album. From his sneering vocals in “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More” to his out of key vocal stretches on “Burn It Clean”, his vocals can never falter. It is an acquired taste and depends on what you look for in the vocals. I like vocals that are aggressive and raspy and Mark seems to accomplish that. The guitars blast out a lot of fuzzy but purely rock and roll guitar riffs while Dan Peters is pounding away on the kit in the background. As I mentioned earlier, the first side is perfect. The two covers are great, “Halloween” is extremely humorous while “Hate The Police” is the perfect anti-social song. The compilation’s downfall is the EP, from here to the end the CD drops quite a bit of quality. Everything becomes bland and nothing sticks out (though this is up to you to decide).
Superfuzz Bigmuff is a bit of a misnomer. On the one hand, it’s great for a while but on the other, this is wearisome and contains no redeeming features apart from the first half or so of the record. This is generally targeted towards the casual Mudhoney beginner who doesn’t care enough about the band to actually obtain the singles and the EP by it’s own. This is really a matter of personal choice, it’s worth a download but it will never be worth my money.