Mudhoney, Under A Billion Suns

Mudhoney, Under A Billion Suns

Yep, Mudhoney are still around. I know, I can’t believe it, either. I have to admit that I had really lost track after the band after Tomorrow Hit Today, and I’d assumed that they had gone their separate ways long ago. Boy, is there egg on my face. I still haven’t heard anything from Since We’ve Become Translucent (which is apparently the only actual new album that I missed), but Under A Billion Suns proves Mudhoney to still be alive and kicking in a big way. This is actually fast becoming my second favorite album of theirs (Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge being the first). Longtime Mudhoney fans will find that familiar sound still very much intact — although Mark does seem to be a little less warbly in his vocal delivery, to me. Not that it matters one way or the other; we’re not talking about a James Hetfield-ian vocal change, here. This is obviously still Mark Arm belting it out as only he can.

The rest of the band kicks it like they always have, in that rollicking, chaotic-yet-tight manner that you know so well. I actually don’t detect a lot of Superfuzz by way of the Big Muff, but maybe that’s because it’s a bit lower in the mix this time around. One notable addition to Mudhoney’s sonic palate is the horn section that shows up on a good deal of this album’s tracks. From what I can tell, Mudhoney began utilizing the brass on Translucent, and I’m actually glad they decided to keep that approach on Under A Billion Suns, because it works. The horns mesh really well with the band’s signature sound, surprisingly so, in fact. I’d actually like to see Mudhoney take the horn section out on the road with them (they might be doing this already, I’m not really sure), because I think the fans would love it. It’s nice to see that as one of the only two bands left standing from the grunge explosion (the other being Pearl Jam), Mudhoney is still Mudhoney, still “keeping it real,” yet trying out new things that actually could add to their sonic legacy rather than floundering and making choices out of desperation. Color me impressed.

(Sub Pop Records -- 2013 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA. 98121; http://www.subpop.com/; Mudhoney -- http://www.myspace.com/mudhoney)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Thursday, May 4th, 2006. Filed under Reviews.

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