Melvins – A Walk With Love and Death
Melvins are back, with a pair of career firsts: their first double album, their first film soundtrack. In some senses this is a distinct pair of albums – Death is a proper Melvins release, if such a thing as a proper Melvins release could be said to exist after 30 years of experimentation involving double drummers, trios and quartets running in tandem with one another, instrumental albums and hour-long songs alongside songs of mere seconds. Love, meanwhile, is the score to the Jesse Nieminen-directed, self-produced short that's also titled A Walk With Love and Death.
Drummer Dale Crover has called the album “one giant, dark, moody, psychotic head trip!” and that’s as good as any place to start. It's fair to say Melvins run the gamut over the 23 tracks, from Slint-like drone rock (Black Heath, Sober-delic) through Black Flag-esque punk rock (What’s Wrong With You?, Flaming Creature) to barmy psychedelia (Give It To Me) and all-out noise warfare (Queen Powder Party and Street Level St. Paul, we’re looking at you). That doesn’t even include stops along the road like The Hidden Joice and Scooba where the signs are marked ‘Just what the fuck was that?’
Featuring guest stars such as Joey Santiago, Teri Gender Bender and Anna Waronker, A Walk With Love and Death is like a one-stop shop of everything to love, hate and feel infuriated by about Melvins. Like Pavement’s whopping extended Wowee Zowee, it may be too much for your brain to absorb in a short period of time – but for all that, it’s a testament to the mighty Melvins that they continue to push the envelope into a car which they then drive at a hundred miles an hour over a cliff and into the far reaches of space.
Every band you love owes a collossal debt to the Melvins, a debt which you should start to repay by buying this record.
Listen to: What’s Wrong With You, Christ Hammer, Cactus Party, Scooba