by ReturnToRock USER (303 Reviews)
May 3rd, 2006 | 15 replies

Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Only a band like Nirvana could have made a B-sides and rarities album into an essential buy. Usually one of the most thoroughly useless devices of the music industry, the ęscrapĽ album is widely regarded as a ędiehard-fans onlyĽ addition to a groupís collection. Everyone who is either curious or just a casual fan will find little to no interest in such a release.

Now enter Incesticide. An album where some of the songs are actually better (or at least as good as) some of the songs on Nirvanaís other releases. Where does it fit into the logic" Answer: as often happens with Kurt and Co, it doesnít. The best way to consider Incesticide is as the never-released fourth Nirvana full-length album. Or rather, their third, since this album fills the gap between Nevermind and In Utero. What it consists of is basically a series of outtakes, covers and discarded songs from the recording sessions of both Bleach and Nevermind, in a total of 15 songs. Of course, when you have this many songs in an album, itís hard to keep the quality standards, but Nirvana almost pull it off. Almost.

The album kicks off with Dive. Introduced by a catchy Krist Novoselic bassline, this song would have fitted right in Nevermind, although its somewhat raspy guitar sound is trademark Bleach. Itís a really fun song, with great drumming and an excellent chorus: Dive, dive, dive, drowning me . All in all, a very good song and an excellent way to start off the album. (4,5/5)

Up next is perhaps the greatest bassline in Nirvana history, and one of my personal favourites to play. It creates the basic melody for Sliver, in my opinion the second best Nirvana song, after maybe Teen Spirit. But let me tell you, it gives the mega-hit a serious run for its money. Everything, from the genius naÔve lyrics to Kurt singing in a childish voice to match them, to the so-simple-yet-so-brilliant drum break on the chorus, is utterly perfect. I admit Iím totally biased towards this song, I just think itís so perfect, but believe me: itís worth hearing. Absolutely the high point of this album. Grandma take me home/Wanna be alone. (5/5)

The run of good songs continues with Stain. This features another great, catchy riff and an equally good chorus. Once again, itís a simple but very fun song. The lyrics are excellent, dumb but very funny:

Well he never bleeds and he never ***s
And he never leaves 'cause he's got bad luck.
Well he never reads and he never draws.
And he never sleeps 'cause he's got bad luck, yeah

Iím a StainÖ
A Nobel prize it may not be, but it sure is funny. All this is topped by an excellent, typically Cobainesque guitar solo. Worth a listen. (4,5/5)

Been a Son is another moment of sheer genius. The riffs are once again mind-numbingly simple, but really catchy, and the lyrics are as interesting as always:

She should have stayed away from friends
She should have had more time to spend
She should have died when she was born
She should have worn the crown of thorns

She should have-been a son
In other words, itís about a mother who wishes her only daughter was a son. The solo is also excellent, very minimal but haplessly interesting. All in all, this is another song worthy of a (5/5)

Turnaround begins a series of three songs the kind that Nirvana does best: obscure covers, ęNirvanizedĽ and brought to a wider audience. These songs are so obscure that sometimes they get referred to as Nirvana songs, because most people know the Nirvana version rather than the original one. Of the three included on this album, this is the least interesting. Itís a Devo cover, driven by a quite interesting bassline, and it sports a catchy chorus, butÖthereís something missing. I canít quite put my finger on what it is, but the fact is that, of the first eight songs on the album, this is the worst. Still quite decent, though. (3,5/5)

Fortunately, Mollyís Lips is much better. The first of the two Vaselines covers is once again driven by a numb-skulledly simple guitar riff (it never EVER changes in the course of the song) and the lyrics are all of three lines: She said, sheíd take me anywhere, sheíd take me anywhere, as long as she stays with me/ She said, sheíd take me anywhere, sheíd take me anywhere, as long as I stay clean/ Kiss, kiss, Mollyís lips. Silly, yes, but really fun. This is in fact one of my favourite songs to jump around to in the bedroom. The downside" No solo, but then again, it wasnít necessary. Very good song. (4,5/5)

But in what concerns the covers, Nirvana have saved the best for last: Son Of A Gun, another Vaselines cover, is a relentless, thumping stormer of a punk song, sure to leave your brain boggled and your neck sore. Dave Grohl keeps the beat going strong all the time, allowing for only the briefest of fills amidst the ęthud-thud-thudĽ of his double bass. Kurt rips with sharp-edged punk riffs and his trademark vocals. As for Dave, he is barely audible, but keeps time steadily. An excellent song, and a frequent replay on this album. Son of a gunís in the bathroom/When we play/The raining always stops/When we go away! (5/5)

After Son, it would be hard to keep the stream of good songs flowing, but believe it or not, Nirvana pull it off. Sure, track #8 is merely a punk re-hash of their megahit Polly, but this new version (entitled (New Wave) Polly really delivers the goods. Sure, the denomination is ultra-dumb, but the speeding-up of the songís tempo works to its advantage: I daresay this version is better than the one on Nevermind. Of course, making it faster means Kurt canít have the laid-back attitude he showed on the original version: here, his delivery is almost breathless, as he crams the words into the tight instrumentation. Once again, Grohl reigns supreme, allowing for only short fills to interfere with his drumming. As for Novoselic, he once again takes a back seat to his mates. A great, great song. Isnít me/Havenít seed. (5/5)

The next song is Beeswax, and it almost disrupts the run of great songs that has been going on since the start of the album. With its sludgy pace, itís clearly an outtake from Bleach, and it would have fitted wonderfully on that album. Everythingís here: fuzzy guitars, spaced-out vocals, an ever more spaced out solo and jazzy psychedelic drumming from the great Chad Channing. However, thereís something missing on this song, just like there had been on Turnaround. Donít know what it is, but it doesnít reach the quality of the previous songs. I got my diddly spayed (3/5)

The next song is the most puzzling one on the album. Itís Downer, from Bleach, with absolutely no changes made whatsoever in regard to the ęoriginalĽ. If you know Downer, you know what to expect, itís still a great song, butÖwhatís it doing here"! Hold me now in restitution/Living out your date of fusion/In our whole fleece is your master/Don't feel guilty, master writing (4,5/5)

Mexican Seafood finishes the unbeaten run, as it is no more than a filler song. Once again, itís sludgy and spaced-out, and it has a decent chorus, but the verse section is very uninteresting, even dull. Sorry guys, no show this time. Only hurts when I, when I pee (2/5)

Haispray Queen is another puzzling song, but for different reasons: Kurtís voice sounds completely off the hook on this one. Instead of his usual husky deliver, the way-past-weird Nirvana singer comes across sounding like Bobcat Goldthwaite! This, however, is what makes the song so cool, because otherwise itís just a regular Nirvana song. Sometimes itís good to be weirdÖ I was you mine, you were mine (4/5)

Unfortunately, just like a football team that falters on the final quarter, so this album sees its wonderful streak of top-notch songs end. The remaining three songs range between average and uninteresting, and never capture what made the ones in the first half so interesting. The first is Aero Zeppelin, another slab of droning white noise where the most interesting feature is the title (AEROsmith + Led ZEPPELIN, get it"). Everything else about this song is forgettable and this is a definite skip victim. Theíll be fans, theyíll be fans (1/5)

Big Long Now is another distortion-driven snore-a-thon. Itís quite a long song, and it drags on quite a bit, especially because itís not a ballad and the rhythm is so slow. Still, itís a good indication as to where the inspiration for groups like Sunn O))) came from. Not as good in the song department, though. I am blind (1/5)

Fortunately, the album closes up decently enough with Aneurysm. This song is quite a big hit, and a lot of people love it, though I canít understand why that is. Itís just another average Nirvana songs, with all the elements included therein. Itís got a better chorus than any of the previous two, though. More Nevermind than Bleach, if you get my drift. A decent enough closer for an excellent album. Meet me, aneurysm! (3/5)

All in all, this could perfectly have been a full-length Nirvana release. Itís as essential as any of them, and just as entertaining. In fact, the only reasons why you canít consider this a ęrealĽ release are revolving cast of musicians (including Mudhoney drummer and early Nirvana member Dale Crover), the wobbly production values (different sessions, folks) and the fact that you can clearly distinguish between the outtakes from Bleach and those from Nevermind. The first are fuzzier, and the production is thicker; the second are more light-hearted in both aspects. Still, it remains an essential buy for all rock fans.

Recommended Tracks:

Been a Son
Son of a Gun
(New Wave) Polly

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Comments:Add a Comment 
May 3rd 2006


I really didn't like this album, you could really tell that the songs were b-sides.

Aneurysm is probally the hightlight, it's not fantastic but at least it's kind of fun and catchy. The rest of the album has some points where it's 'pretty good' but you can really tell that their b-sides and there were reasons they weren't released on Bleach or nevermind.

That what I think anyway, if your a person who hasn't heard this much nirvana go and get Nevermind, only get this if you really like them.

Your review wasn't bad through, I don't agree with everthing you say (such as Aero Zeppelin is worth more then 1) but that's just my personal opinion.
This Message Edited On 05.03.06This Message Edited On 05.03.06

May 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

This is one of my fave's from Nirvana. It sounds much more punky than their other releases. Pretty good review.

May 3rd 2006


I looooooooooooooooove Nirvana 2 much!!!!!

May 3rd 2006


No no no no, Been a son is without a doubt the WORST Nirvana song. Dull, repetative, lame.

Aneurysm is a good song but the recording of it here spoils it. For a good version you need to hear it live (Like perhaps off of TMBOTW) The "Beat it, Beat it" backing really really spoil it in my opinion.

Other than that good album. IMO in gets better towards the end. Who doesnt love Big Long Now.

Not a badly written review. But I disagree with mostly everything you said.This Message Edited On 05.03.06

May 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

It was a good review, but you got alot of the lyrics wrong. Anyway, I really like this album.

May 3rd 2006


This and In Utero are my favourite Nirvana albums but I don't listen to them anymore.

May 3rd 2006


I think Sliver is the worst thing Nirvana ever did, personally.

May 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

^^ That song is probably in my top five Nirvana.

May 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

[quote=review]Only a band like Nirvana could have made a B-sides and rarities album into an essential buy.[/quote]


Anyway, this album is alright, used to like it more though. Son of a Gun is still a cool song.

Digging: Pinegrove - Cardinal

Spank Thru
May 3rd 2006


Just to mention a couple things, the title of Aero zeppelin had nothing to do with those two bands. Personally, I think it deserves more than a one though, I just love the solo.

Also, Downer is on the album because the original Bleach vinyl didn't include Downer or Big Cheese, therefore, the band included the song as a way for the people with a copy of the original Bleach to hear the song.

As for my opinion on this album, I prefer it more than nevermind because of the variety. I really enjoy the Vaselines covers, but also look forward to songs like Mexican Seafood, Beeswax, and Hairspray Queen. Not only because of the abstract lyrics and singing style, but also because they are little more complex musically than any song on Nevermind. The Bleach era songs really deserve more credit music wise than they receive.

May 3rd 2006


Incesticide is a must have for any Nirvana fan - all the songs grow on you if you didnt like them at first hearing. Aneurysm and Sliver are the two more popular songs, and as for overproduction - it was from a Mark Goodier session what do you expect?

May 3rd 2006


i'm reading a biography on them for english. good review

May 3rd 2006


Pretty good review I guess, but I disagree with the Aero Zeppelin and Aneurysm. 2 of my top 10 Nirvana probably. AZ reminds me of Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol which i liked...Ill probably get this eventually.

May 3rd 2006


Dive should have been the single not Sliver... and that my friends is a FACT.

July 12th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

I like Been a son but this isnt my fav album but i cant really say its my least but i love all thier albums.

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