If you think of grunge you think nirvana, pearl jam, soundgarden and Alice in chains. Missed out anybody? Yes Mudhoney of course and in 1992 they released their major label debut named piece of cake. After a long history of humorous, catchy and fun albums they deliver their third album to a nation full of grungers, the genre they helped create but you might be surprised to know this isn’t a grunge album, its more garage rock or straightforward muscular rock than anything, now let’s get on with the review.
Mark arm – vocals, guitar, organ, slide guitar, piano
Steve turner – guitar, key bass, harmonica, banjo, vocals
Dan peters – drums, marimba, and vocals
Matt Lukin- bass guitar, vocals
1. Untitled 1
This is a humorous track that definitely caught me off guard when I first heard it, its techno track with mark arm wailing piece of cake behind the keyboard track. It’s a nice intro as it immediately shows Mudhoney never take anything too seriously, unlike most of their Seattle peers who were now sailing up the charts.
2. No end in sight
This track begins with some fast drums then a power chord riff kicks in, officially beginning the album, then the guitar fades out and mark arm screams over the rapid bass. All the riffs in this song seem to kinda merge together and the bass is very audible, especially on the verse. The chorus is very catchy “Left behind Left and right No end in sight No end in sight” so it could be a song of their previous album, every good boy deserves fudge.
3. Make it now
After that slightly grungy number we experience a clean riff backed by strange noises of feedback where it eventually builds up into an epic intro. The main riff is then played with mark arm repeating words carelessly as if everything is second to the instruments. The chorus is connected through various wet guitar riffs that seamlessly weave through each other. The bridge repeats the same riff as the intro and it quiets down until it bursts into a solo. My complaint about this song is the lyrics are repeated way too much and it sounds like mark was just being lazy with them
4. When in Rome
This songs opens with an organ playing and a strange picky riff jumping over the top of it, the song really kicks in with a massive and extremely catchy chorus “When it all burns down/whatcha gonna do”. This song almost feels like one enormous chorus since it keeps the upbeat feel of the initial chorus going all the way through. About half way through there is a very short breakdown with just the guitar playing the main riff then it kicks into an awesome solo. My complaint about this song would be there isn’t much variety once the song gets going; it just kinda pulls itself onwards.
5. Untitled 2
This song opens with a strange piano riff followed by sum extremely heavy riffage, it seems to be kind of a joke song but I don’t mind it because it splits the album up into easy digestible bits so that the listener can keep interest on their first few listens.
6. Suck you dry
If you know a song from this album it should be this, it’s easily the catchiest and most memorable song on the album. The song opens with a few hits of the hi-hat then the awesome main riff enters, taking you back to the old days of superfuzz bigmuff. The guitars are incredibly crunchy but the actually song is kinda poppy and very catchy, especially with the chorus “suck you dry, suck you dry, i can't breath until i SUCK YOU DRY!” I love how Steve turner plays little solo ditties over the chorus, great song
7. Blinding sun
Another single off the album, this song opens with a slightly psychedelic guitar riff then kicks into a verse that has a real groove and you could probably dance to it. Mark arm sings vague lyrics about making mistakes and such, “Woke with a rope around my neck, swear I did no wrong
Blinding sun, beats down in my eyes blinding sun, beats down in my eyes had my fill on the river bank, with you by my side”. It’s easy to see why this was a single, the chorus is infectious and the guitars are beautiful but it is slightly repetitive and I got sick of it after about ten listens, but otherwise a great tune.
8. Thirteenth floor opening
Definitely one of the darker Mudhoney songs, I think the lyrics are about contemplating suicide “if I tried I could fly straight through the window/ when I land I know I will not be injured”, it’s a refreshing track after the usual Mudhoney fuzz and it offers a new side to Mudhoney where they actually seem to take themselves seriously. The verses are supported with a picky riff plus a hooky chorus keep the song interesting for a first listener, a brill track.
9. Youth body expression explosion
This track is very similar to “A brief celebration of indifference” from the “under a billion suns” album, it sounds like a fast paced jam that they just happened to record, its supported by a keyboard that almost acts like a third guitar. They are some nice riffs and a large build-up to the almost psychedelic ending where some weird noises interfere with the guitar and mix things up a little, a very jumpy instrumental that manages to keep the momentum of the album going.
10. I’m spun
This song opens up with some very creepy noises so when I first heard it I thought it was gonna be another “Thirteenth floor opening” but then an awesome riff kicks in, faster than anything else on the album, blowing the track into first gear. I think the lyrics are about not getting too wound up “never know when you’ll snap, never know when you’ll break, never know when you’ll crack, all you know is you can’t trust fate”. This is a very fast punky song but it retains the group’s gift for hooks, thus making it a good song, but it almost seems to merge with a lot of the other Mudhoney songs that have these qualities, therefore making it un-unique.
11. Untitled 3
I believe Steve Turner described this song as “some retarded country music”, and yes is it, but it can be forgiven since it’s just another humorous untitled track that helpfully breaks the album up into digestible pieces so it doesn’t drag on.
12. Take me there
In my opinion this is the worst track on the album, it really drags on massively and doesn’t contribute any new kind of music to the album, it’s just the sub-par Mudhoney standard. It opens with a deep hefty bass riff until the guitars take over and they just repeat the riff over and over, while this does make it slightly stoner rock, it isn’t the good kinda stoner rock. The chorus doesn’t grab your attention and it just fades into the abyss of this tracks mediocrity, below standard song.
13. Living wreck
“Shoot for the stars, my my how lucky you are”, it sounds like a rhyme mark made up while he was bored and it defiantly keeps this track from being boring. The guitars seem to float around the great melodies in this song and Steve plays some of the best lead I’ve heard from him. The chorus is classic and hooky just like many on this album and it retains an energy lost in “take me there” that is essential in keeping it interesting to the end.
14. Let me let you down
This is the song harmonies were invented for, nearly all the singing is just overlapping phrases that just sound so classy and cool. The guitar is amazing, just a very thick tuned down drawl, extremely grungy music. This is one of those tracks that you just listen to and think how they made this, also just when the song gets boring an awesome exciting bridge kicks in and ramps up the energy back to punk. When you think the song has ended a keyboard rises back up from the mist and they repeat the awesome harmonies again, pure genius
15. Untitled 4
Fart noises, need I say more
Right so by this time in the album you’re expecting things to slow down right? Nope “Ritzville” keeps the punk energy going almost to the end of the album and with a genius chorus “going back to Ritzville, don’t ask why, it’s as good a place as any to go and die”, another highlight of the album that just goes to show that albums don’t have to slow down their momentum towards the end.
What better way to end an album than with a sing-along camp song, this is a mudhoney classic. The song begins with a single acoustic guitar but builds up to include keyboard, guitar, drums and bass, adding to the majesty of an already beautiful song, the chorus is as catchy as anything “oohh acetone why can’t she leave you alone”. Easily one of the best Mudhoney end tracks (ignoring the fact that most Mudhoney end tracks are pretty bad), just great.
I honestly can’t understand the negativity towards this album; it’s easily one of my favourite Mudhoney albums and does not deserve the negative reputation it has.