BY MIKE SHANLEY
There’s no place like home/ and I never, ever wanna go home again,” Mark Arm sings in “In This Rubber Tomb.” It’s an ironic line, considering that he and his Mudhoney co-horts sound right at home. He’s wailing in the same frantic way and they’re piling on the power chords like it’s 1990, or somewhere there about.
Some of us have often wondered why it was Nirvana and not Mudhoney that blew the doors down in 1991. Or why Mudhoney didn’t get swept up completely in the frenzy that followed. (Yes, they were signed to Reprise and released three albums for them during that period, but where’s the household-name status?)
Actually if you asked the band they might not care for all the consequences that come with major success. It’s bad enough that Arm has yutzes tugging on him in the supermarket and acting chummy, as he explains in “I Don’t Remember You.” Besides “I Like It Small” reveals him to be a man of simple means, preferring “Gladys Knight sans the Pipps…GG Allin over Long Dong Silver,” not to mention dingy basements gigs, limited appeal and minimal production. As far as wine goes, maybe he’s metaphorical when he screams, “I hate you, Chardonnay,” (“Chardonnay”) but probably not.
After all this time, Mudhoney shows no sign of either calming down or tinkering with a good formula. The guitars still crunch as hard as ever, and Dan Peters’ drumming has that distinct set of accents that keep the anticipation high. Although “Chardonnay” might not be Arm’s best in the lyric department, a few other songs balance things out. “The Final Course” depicts a gruesome tale of cannibalism and come-uppance. In “The Only Son of the Widow from Nain,” the protagonist compares himself to guys in songs by Devo #and# Foreigner, a move twice as bold for these guys.
Welcome home, boys.
DOWNLOAD: “The Only Son of the Widow from Nain,” “Slipping Away.”