Mudhoney - Digital Garbage - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Mudhoney - Digital Garbage

by Sean Hewson Rating:8 Release Date:2018-09-28
Mudhoney - Digital Garbage
Mudhoney - Digital Garbage

It was only a few months ago that Mudhoney put out their live album, LiE. Now they’re back with Digital Garbage, their tenth full album (ie, not Superfuzz Bigmuff)  in 30 years. As has been the case with most of those records, it’s out on Sub Pop.

Nerve Attack starts with new boy (joined in 2000), Guy Maddison’s bass. The twin guitars of Mark Arm and Steve Turner join in playing dirty Garage riffs. Dan Peters, as ever, is on drums. It’s a standard three chord trick given the scruffy Mudhoney approach. Arm uses the snarl but not the scream. Paranoid Core is faster and the riff is more dynamic, almost falling over itself in its hurry. Peters drives this track and Arm seems more engaged than on the opener. A classic riff and burst of lead (presumably from Turner) starts Please Mr. Gunman. The chorus (‘We’d rather die in church’) makes it something of a banger. Then they stick in a key change guitar solo with honky-tonk piano. For a band as established as Mudhoney, you wonder which songs will be rubbing shoulders with their greatest hits on the live shows. I’m certain Please Mr. Gunman will. The riff on Kill Yourself Live is a little more awkward but it is soon joined by slide guitar and organ and it makes more sense. It’s also a classic, sarcastic Arm lyric (‘When I kill myself live, I get so many likes’). It’s obvious from that quote the element that he’s mocking, but he really goes to town – bunny ears are added at one point.

Maddison kicks off Night and Fog, a slower, more sinister song. The chord progression is pretty simple, even for Mudhoney. But then the pace gathers and we burst into an almost entirely different guitar ending that utilises all remaining chords. 21st Century Pharisees has another fine performance from Peters as Arm unleashes his scream on ‘evangelical hypocrites’. Turner’s guitar sound is wonderful on his unhinged solo. Classic pay-off line too. The wonderfully-named, Hey Neanderfuck, rides in on a superb bit of ensemble playing and Turner tears off another burning solo. The same goes for Prosperity Gospel – superb band playing, riffs, sarcasm and despair at the state of the world. Arm is close to Jello Biafra on this album – his rage coming out in sardonic humour. Whilst, towards the end of the song, Turner is closer to Prog. Messiah’s Lament has a lovely skip to it and touches of acoustic guitar. Arm compares modern man to Christ and takes the piss. Next Mass Extinction shows Arm possibly welcoming the death of humanity and the joy of nothing taking over. Again, there is a change of pace and a guitar burn-out to see us on our way.  The last song, Oh Yeah, is 90 minutes of a banger and a great way to close out this strong album from one of our hardy perennials.

Lovers of smart/dumb Rock’n’Roll played by aging men already received a treat this year when Cosmic Psychos released Loudmouth Soup . Digital Garbage is another treat. As the name suggests, it is a howl of rage at the modern world from men who find it hard not to care. Being Mudhoney, they cover the rage with the sense of humour that has seen them negotiate the last 30 years with more dignity than their peers. And possibly with more dignity than those of us that remember their first few tours gave them credit for. I’m looking forward to a lot of these tunes making the cut on their UK tour with Thee Hypnotics in November. A must for lovers of high-energy Rock’n’Roll.

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Mudhoney - Digital Garbage - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab
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  • 01/10/2018
  • By Sean Hewson