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Melvins Lite - Freak Puke (Ipecac Records)

By: Sara Heitman

[9/10] Melvins Lite is an offshoot of the Melvins, consisting of Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, and bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Tomahawk). Similar to Melvins, Melvins Lite is catchy in that crazy, unpredictable way, with weird endings and unmistakable vocals. However, in order to develop the Melvins Lite unique sound, The Melvins had to lose some weight and gain a stand-up bassist. In other words, to paraphrase King Buzzo himself, Melvins Lite is a cross between Captain Beefheart, Funkadelic, and Lenny Bruce playing heavy metal. The ambition and creativity never end; in addition to putting out albums for the past two and a half decades, the Melvins also intend to break the Guiness Book of World Records for Fastest Tour of the United States - starting September 2012. It is safe to say that the Melvins are a living part of history.

You immediately see the difference that the stand-up bass makes in opener "Mr. Rip Off." This goose bump-inducing introduction to the album has strings that will make your skin crawl and moves dangerously close to something of your deepest, hidden nightmares before it slips gently into a welcoming groove, and we shake hands hello. We are refreshingly confused when "Worm Farm Waltz" completely changes direction halfway through the song. I can almost put my finger on what it is about the second half that feels so familiar and inviting...but then the song splinters and breaks into pieces.

"Leon vs. The Revolution" is much more aggressive than some of the other songs in Freak Puke. Angry vocals mixed with grooving guitar riffs put up an exceptional fight. "Holy Barbarians" puts a curious background behind somewhat haunting vocals to create a disturbing atmosphere. Right until the end, the Freak Puke listening experience is quite enjoyable. When we reach "Tommy Goes Beserk" we are at the album's finale, and it is apparent from the music that we are about to embark on a long, nearly ten-minute, journey. The ride is scary and strange and might raise an eyebrow or two, but in the end it leaves you with a smile.

In short, the adventure that is Freak Puke is pleasantly strange. Many different elements have been intertwined and it is unpredictable. I believe it is a timeless album; it will never grow old. If you aren't able to appreciate what the Melvins Lite have put forth with Freak Puke, then I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.



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