Since day one there has been a magnetic charm, flair, genius, whatever you wish to call it about Melvins and their unique releases. It is a potency or schizophrenic mastery which has seduced and fulfilled an ever growing legion throughout their thirty year inventive assault. Whatever the success and heights individual releases have found the band has never left anyone wanting for quality and the distinctive essence which is pure Melvins, and new persuasion Tres Cabrones is no exception. Whether it is one of their finest moments to date can and will be discussed no doubt but certainly this mischievous temptation is prime Melvins, a riveting, and exceedingly satisfying provocation which feeds expectations whilst stretching areas of their sound just that little bit more.
The twelve track Ipecac Recordings released album sees two thirds of the first band line-up in place, Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover linking up with original drummer Mike Dillard who left the band in 1984, and with diversity and unpredictability set in the familiar Melvins cast style Tres Cabrones makes for an irresistible rampage through the imagination. It is an instant instigator for the passions from the very start with opener Dr. Mule with its addictive blaze of crisply laid rhythms and fiery grooves within a sonic web of enterprise, making a compelling introduction to the release. The song unleashes an almost sirenesque lure through its seductive sonic tempting, an element of Pere Ubu spicing its presence with the vocals especially recalling the bedlamic delivery of David Thomas. It is an outstanding entrance into the album immediately backed up by the just as impressive City Dump.
The second track is a dirty growl of rock ‘n’ roll, carnivorous riffs snarling persistently whilst sonic flames scorch the air with an equally needy rabidity which leaves a hunger rife within the emotions, this fired up appetite soon given plenty to chew upon with American Cow and Dogs and Cattle Prods. The first of the pair is a stalking intimidation, its predacious riffery a deliciously worrisome confrontation skirted by dark throated basslines and sonic manipulations of guitar. There is a grizzled contempt to the vocals throughout too though nicely tempered by the cleaner delivery both adding impressive bait within the cantankerous prowl. The second of the two is a festering of grimy hard rock and sonic teasing which makes a straightforward bruising narrative for its first stretch before exuding the band’s finest stoner imagination and fire as it evolves its striking presence with a sultry breath, acoustic caresses, and crawling, searing dynamics.
The song is followed by the second of three fun filled interludes; Tie My Pecker to a Tree, 99 Bottles of Beer, and You’re In The Army Now all delivered in the inimitable Melvins style to leave grins wide and providing a respite from an intensity built in other tracks, such as the synapse tantalising Psychodelic Haze, a song which sizzles whilst leering greedily at and putting pressure upon the senses through a sonic infused concussive smog. If that enthralling mental trip was not enough the threesome take it further with the excellent I Told You I Was Crazy. The discord fuelled, brain addling treat is swamp gas seeping sonic devilry at its best, a presence which soaks and tempts the imagination into a shadow drenched slice of asylum courted majesty, its sinister cradling of the ears a cross between Th’ Legendary Shack Shackers and Buzzov•en, but all Melvins.
Both Stump Farmer and Walter’s Lips provide riff sculpted temptation which is impossible to resist, the first a brief and forceful acquaintance which though reined for the main still has a ferocity which is commanding and insatiable whilst the other track is a gnarly mix of punk and heavy rock which abrases with its raw causticity and seduces with wanton melodic flames.
The closing of the album is left to Stick em’ Up Bitch, a glam rock inspired riot which opens with a lure straight out of Ballroom Blitz and continues to rattle nostalgia cages with its lascivious offering. It concludes Tres Cabrones in fine style, completing what is a deeply satisfying and thrilling release. The album is pure Melvins, an encounter which arguably does not challenge expectations too rigorously but definitely gives them food for thought and exciting adventures to find unpredictability within, without question another must investigate album from a continually inspiring band.
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