So why wouldn’t it be a good idea for a veteran band to make an album of covers showcasing its influences? Wasn’t The Ramones’ Acid Eaters great? Who doesn’t cherish Styx’s audacious covers of The Who and Hendrix on 2005’s Big Bang Theory? And wasn’t it cool when Cheap Trick performed the entirety of Sgt. Pepper live? Not really. Covers collections are usually hastily concocted and ill-conceived affairs signaling that a band has long since lost inspiration and can’t muster the energy to even attempt anything new.
The Melvins, however, have defied the odds once again. The covers collection Everybody Loves Sausages actually coheres as an album. Maybe it’s that the band has been so bullheadedly (sorry) eclectic throughout its career that the wild stylistic variation of songs makes some kind of sense. And why should an album necessarily “make sense” anyway – when all the tracks are so well executed and lovingly played?
Spanning the gamut from the pop sweetness of Queen’s “Best Friend” to the industrial skullfuck drudgery of Throbbing Gristle’s “Heathen Earth” is actually not such a stretch for the Melvins, an act that has prided itself for its refusal to adhere to rigid genre limitations. The band hits its groove most convincingly on heavier tracks like Venom’s “Warhead” and Ram Jam’s “Black Betty,” but it’s all good. The Melvins’ commitment to quality is obvious: None of these tracks feels like a toss off. Granted, Sausages will not receive topmost ranking among the Melvins canon. But the album still works because, like all of their other stuff, it’s simultaneously challenging and fun – and just sounds cool.
Everybody Loves Sausages