Mudhoney – Vanishing Point
At first it may seem crazy that a crash-and-burn act like Mudhoney has proven so durable. Over 25 years into its career, the band has long since established its reputation as progenitors of protozoan proto-grunge, whether they like it or not. And anyway, Mudhoney was always something of a retro assemblage. Sure, their garage sound introduced elements of metal and hardcore that may have seemed revolutionary in the halcyon days of 1988, but the band kept one collective foot firmly planted in in the Nuggets-style punk ethos most effectively deployed by The Standells and The Sonics. Innovators perhaps, but Mudhoney was (and is) timeless.
With Vanishing Point, Mudhoney is basically delivering the same old bill of goods, which is a great thing. The only change is that the lyrics have shifted from an angry young man’s perspective to a curmudgeonly one. And the bitter old manisms of the new album actually seem like more of a comfortable fit.
The funny thing about Vanishing Point is the matter of who is the target of the band’s vitriol. In the usual scheme it’s either the young criticizing the old or, conversely, the old criticizing the young. But vocalist Mark Arm’s ire is directed at his own generation. Arm’s wit has never been sharper than in the Don Rickles style screeds of tracks like “I Don’t Remember You” and “I Like It Small.” And Steve Turner’s Stooges-like wall of guitar sludge is as masterfully sloppy and distorted as ever. Apparently the guys in Mudhoney are dead serious about not taking themselves too seriously – and therein lies the strength of this crucial band.