Release Date: Apr 30, 2013
Record label: Ipecac
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal
By my count, the Melvins have already officially released 42 covers of other composers, and there are probably another five or more that I am missing. Indeed, their seminal Lysol album is about 50% covers and The Crybaby is just over that ratio. But, despite their penchant for reworking other people's music, Melvins covers never have really felt like covers, but rather, Melvins tunes that were written by other people.
Sludge-grunge heavies the Melvins covering In Every Dream Home A Heartache - Roxy Music's ode to fucking an inflatable doll - with former Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra warbling Bryan Ferry's vocals at half speed has to be the funniest track of 2013. On their new covers record, the Melvins embrace their role straddling the space between hard rock royalty and straight-up joke band. In their 30th year, King Buzzo, Dale Crover and co.
Part of the problem with the promise of a new Melvins album is knowing just which incarnation of the band is going to turn up. This is an outfit whose mantra is apparently “we play music to please ourselves” and as luck would have it, more often than not, that music also happens to please their fanbase. Every so often they like to throw a total curveball into the mix that would test the patience of even their most ardent supporters.
Review Summary: The Melvins record a cover album.Everybody Loves Sausages is an album that, for all intents and purposes, is meant to simply be enjoyed rather than analyzed. There isn't any new material being unveiled here, nor does it contain any clues of what The Melvins are plotting for future endeavors. Instead, the Melvins have chosen to go with a more nostalgic concept to commemorate their 30 year run.
Led by the peerless King Buzzo, few bands are as prolific and respected as living noise, rock and metal legends the Melvins. Now at the point in their career where they can merrily experiment in any way they wish, they've released this weird, playful and unabashedly cheeky collection of covers, featuring guests like Scott Kelly, Clem Burke and Jello Biafra. Each track is a tribute to one of the many bands the Melvins respect and are influenced by — from Venom and Throbbing Gristle to David Bowie and the Fugs.
Mr Ben walked into his favourite shop, the most special shop in the whole wide world. The secret of Mr Ben’s life, his play room. Inside the familiar odd little man in the fez - Mr Ben was never quite able to work out where he was from - grinned at him, smoothing his moustache, his eyes bright. They both knew what came next.
For middle-aged rockers, releasing a covers album can be like buying a new sportscar-- it’s a gesture intended to distract you from your own impending obsolescence. From the Ramones to Rod Stewart, the act of recording other people’s songs is usually an acknowledgment that you no longer have anything to say. This is not necessarily the case for the two-ton iron chest of blackened sludge known as the Melvins and their new covers record, Everybody Loves Sausages.
Not every covers album features songs originally recorded by artists as diverse as Queen, Venom and Divine, and accompanied by guests including members of Neurosis and Blondie, but Melvins are the sort of band that specialise in the unusual. Who else, for example, switches between two line-ups (Melvins Lite being the other) and would’ve released 1994’s oddball experimental album Prick at a time when their sound was vaguely in vogue? Everybody Loves Sausages begins faithfully enough, with Warhead and Black Betty in particular staying true to the originals. But then with the help of guest JG Thirwell’s ominous vocal delivery, David Bowie’s Station To Station becomes a thing of lurching menace, while The Kinks’ Attitude is delivered as a visceral rush of punk and The Jam’s Art School is heralded with an opening “Oi Oi Oi” volley that changes its atmosphere completely.
Normally, when a long-running band releases an album of covers, it's seen as the band just cutting loose, mixing it up, and having a little fun with someone else's songs for a change. The Melvins, however, are not a band that anyone would ever accuse of kowtowing to anyone's demands, a feeling that comes through on their own covers album, Everybody Loves Sausages. Taking a run through the songs that influenced them, the album finds Buzzo and company ringing in their 30th anniversary by looking back at the eclectic mix of bands that live in the Melvins' DNA.
My favorite Melvins song wasn’t written by the Melvins. It’s a KISS cover — “Goin’ Blind”, off 1993’s Houdini. To these ears, it’s the band’s definitive moment: a powerhouse of a track that’s both melodic and sludgy. But that’s not to discredit all the original music King Buzzo and Co.
Would it be nauseating redundancy to state that the Melvins have influenced any band of subsequent origin that has opted to tune their instruments below the key of E and further beyond? Sure it would. Despite the deserved overstatement of that fact, it wouldn’t be untruthful to say so. Kind of unwritten and slightly unsung, the Melvins’ career has been one of the most prolific in subterranean rock.