Melvins - Hold It In - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Melvins - Hold It In

by Andy Brown Rating:7.5 Release Date:2014-10-20

Melvins have been blowing our collective socks off for along time now; their debut album, Gluey Porch Treatments, was released back in 1987. Being only five-years-old at the time, I can’t say I was aware of this landmark record but, thankfully, the band has released over 20 studio albums since then, giving me plenty of time to catch up. Much like The Fall in ethos, Melvins are pleasingly prolific.

Hold it In comes with extra excitement points as the album see’s King Buzzo and Dale Crover joined by Paul Leary and Jeff Pinkus of Butthole Surfers, the very same guitarist and bassist that created the mind-altering psychedelic noise found on the legendary Locust Abortion Technician LP. Hold it In starts with typical Melvin’s bombast; the crunchy metal riffs, heavy drums and distinctly demonic vocals of ‘Bride of Crankenstein’ heralding the bands return. In some ways, the song stands as the most obviously 'Melvins' track on the album, albeit with a brilliantly frazzled Locust-era solo from Leary.

‘You Can Make Me Wait’ begins to show the album's eclectic colours. Well, you wouldn’t expect anything conventional from these guys, would you? There’s an almost AOR vibe to the track's surprisingly floaty tones, while the synthesised vocals and skewered pop leanings give it a kind of Super Furry Animals feel. ‘Brass Cupcake’ sounds like the band's uniquely odd take on college-rock, melodic riffs coupled to the bands surrealist tendencies. And, my god, does it work a treat.

‘Barcelonian Horseshoe Pit’ drops us into a strangely unnerving psychedelic nightmare; with no real structure, it’s like peaking inside the acid-damaged brain of Butthole Surfers bandleader, Gibby Haynes. The track acts as an intermission of sorts before we’re thrown back into the fray with the brilliantly titled ‘Onions Make the Milk Taste Bad’. This song effortlessly moves from Buzzo’s frantic riffs to atmospheric washes of sound and back again.

‘Eyes on You’ filters pop know-how through the CBGB blender to great effect. The song's handclaps, upbeat mood and catchy chorus couldn’t be further away from the bands sludge-rock label. They’ve certainly recorded a few undeniable pop songs for this record and they sound like they’re having a ball.

‘Sesame Street Meat’ and ‘Nine Yards’ bring the crushing riffs and pulverising drums back but it’s ‘The Bunk Up’ that really impresses. Never quite settling on one sound, the track takes in heroically epic guitar parts, Sabbath-like doom and a surprisingly pretty accordion interlude. Ah, no one does this stuff like Melvins.

‘I Get Along (Hollow Moon)’ is essentially Melvins as a reinvigorated Creedence Clearwater Revival, while ‘Piss Pisstoferson’ (always good with song titles) rocks like a mofo. Yes indeed ,ladies and gentlemen, Melvins certainly still know how to rock. While most of the tracks here are relatively short, album closer ‘House of Gasoline’ bucks the trend with its 12-minute riff-o-rama.

Hold It In might lack the cohesive elements that made records like (A) Senile Animal such solid statements, yet you half suspect that’s the idea. Since Freak Puke and covers album Everybody Loves Sausages, the band has been in a particularly playful and creative place.

Hold It In mixes Melvins love of noisy experimentation with their love of riffs and pop-hooks until the whole thing sounds like a deranged jukebox. With two members of Butthole Surfers on board, some may be expecting a full-on, experimental assault, yet Hold It In balances out these elements with some decidedly catchy earworms.

While some bands take years between albums, it’s reassuring to know that Melvins can still produce the goods on a regular basis and that they’re having fun in the process. Who wouldn’t want to be in this band? 

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