Melvins - The Bride Screamed Murder (Ipecac)

25 Jun 2010

“doesn’t it seem right that rock music should be fun? why are all those other people being so unfun? i love joy division - they’re not fun - but what’s the point of this stuff in between..?”; release – 2010


Hooray!  The Melvins Biennale has come around again. I wrote this without really thinking the Biennale bit was very accurate, but after some more research I realised there was more truth in it than I had at first thought (if only all jokes turned out like that and not the opposite).  The Melvins have released one proper[1] album every two years since 2002’s Hostile Ambient Takeover.  If you add to this phenomena the fact that in recent years guitarist Buzz Osbourne has openly admitted that he likes his albums being between 40 and 50 minutes long, you can see how being an avid Melvins fan has become kind of like subscribing to a periodical.

Opener ‘The Water Bucket’ is one of the best and weirdest tracks they have ever released: over the years I have taken great satisfaction in thinking about the truly weird songs on Melvins albums to the degree that I now find myself subconsciously nominating one to myself from every album - I have a kind of weird-Melvins-song hall of fame in my head. So what I thought I’d like to do now is I’d like you to join me and take a trip into that world and look at some of the treasures to be found [2]

The merits of The Bride Screamed Murder are difficult to isolate.  As is always the case with The Melvins, the music is like a dense weave - every note is like a new idea and the album is packed together tightly to form a cohesive whole, making it very hard to penetrate but very nutritious with ideas. The other amazing thing about this record is that although it takes a bit of getting into, it’s a gleaming testament to how fun rock music can be – doesn’t it seem right that rock music should be fun? Why are all those other people being so unfun? I love Joy Division - they’re not fun - but what is the point of this stuff in between?

I have found myself umming and ahhing over this album a great deal, for it’s almost impossible not to judge The Bride Screamed Murder against the twenty thousand million records they released before it.  The effect of this is that I find it very hard not to whinge that... it actually sounds just like the last two. Even Buzz himself has said he thinks this is one of their best albums they have ever made, rather than his usual claim that “this is the best album we have ever made”. Their last two albums are indeed amazing; as is this one -  it just doesn’t pander to the inherent masochism of the long-standing fans (a masochism that The Melvins have put a lot of work into nurturing).  Comparatively, this is quite an easy rock album with not much hidden.  It pushes only the most localised of boundaries, and that’s all I’m going to say on the subject of this LP in the context of the Melvins back catalogue.  Nonetheless, it’s a bloody great selection of songs with an unusually broad appeal.  Listen to it, you silly sausage.

[1]If you discount the two Jello albums (because they’re rubbish - they are) and you do count the one with Lustmord (because it’s really good).
[2] ….Previous entries into the Melvins REALLY WEIRD song hall of fame include – and I’d like you to have ‘Marguerite’ by Bob Morgan (the music that they use to play in the background of the gallery bit of
Hart Beat with Tony Hart - R.I.P.) in your head whilst reading the following list – such titles as:

‘Dr. Geek’ from Hostile Ambient Takeover

‘Pearl Bomb’ from Houdini

‘Chalk People’ from Prick

‘Sweet Willy Rollbar’ from Stoner Witch

‘EyeFlys’ from Gluey Porch Treatments

‘We We’ from The Bootlicker

‘Skin Horse’ from Stag

‘Revolve’ (the Summer Version) from Electroretard

‘Idolatrous Apostate’ from Pigs Of The Roman Empire

‘A History Of Drunks’ from (a) Senile Animal

The list could go on – there are other great songs like ‘Anal Satan’ and their cover of The Ramones’ ‘Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World’ from their singles that also perhaps deserve to reside in the Melvins REALLY WEIRD song hall of fame. ‘The Water Glass’ now joins this list as it strikes me as the sort of song that makes leaving this planet with the Melvins so comfortable. There’s even a part of this song that reminds me of Britney Spears’ dreadful cover of ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’.  And I still like this song - I perhaps like it even more for that very reason.

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