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ALBUM REVIEW: MUDHONEY – REAL LOW VIBE

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★★★★☆

As the hammond organ falls out of sync with a four-to-the-floor kick drum and Mark Arm howls through a megaphone, opening track ‘Untitled’ brings 39 seconds of confusing chaos. Think of it as a fully charged warm up before the welcome relief of a motown beat kicks off ‘No End In Sight’. About to ensue is a Mudhoney treasure trove of four CDs tracking the band’s major label work from 1992 to 1998. Three studio albums sit alongside a live album plus some B-sides and more live tracks.

‘Piece of Cake’ was the band’s third album and highlights their garage grunge sound fated for moshing live shows. Released by Reprise Records, it features classics like ‘Suck You Dry’ and ‘Blinding Sun’. Fourth album ‘My Brother The Cow’ follows. It was highly reviewed by poorly recieved as grunge’s time in the mainstream came to an end in 1995. The album cleverly references the band’s influences including The Stooges, Led Zeppelin and Captain Beefheart. It also makes use of weird instrument like glockenspiel. The songwriting quality is still on point with tracks like ‘Generation Spokesmodel’ and ‘Crankcase Blues’.

The twelve track album ‘Tomorrow Hit Today’ follows, opening with ‘A Thousand Forms Of Mind’. Records sales dropped in succession from 150,000 to 40,000 and sank to 12,000 with this album signalling the end of Mudhoney’s time with Reprise. If you sold that now you’d be laughing, but in the ’90s Oasis could sell 2 million records and it would be considered a flop, comparatively. This album projected blues influence alongside the band’s hardcore grunge sound. It was bass player Matt Lukin’s final album.

The promotional ‘On Tour Now’ live album follows, and the CD also includes rare outtakes and sampler-only tracks. Compiled with Mudhoney making creative decisions, the sleevenotes also include a fresh interview with Mark Arm.

Overall, a fantastic reissue boxset with three albums you may not have given your full attention upon initial release. All four CDs have full sonic distortion, fuzz and real low rumbling bass, giving you the complete Mudhoney sound.

Get the album from Cherry Red Records here.

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