Melvins / Fucked Up - Sugar Daddy Split Series Vol. 8 [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Melvins / Fucked Up

Sugar Daddy Split Series Vol. 8 [12-inch] (2013)

Amphetamine Reptile

The releases in the Melvins Sugar Daddy split vinyl series each feature one track from the Melvins' 2011 live album Sugar Daddy Live and one track from a friend of the band, split across a 12-inch single. Volume #8, which features Fucked Up is one of the most inspired and most fitting pairings to date.

The Melvins' side includes a live take of "Rat Faced Granny." Although the rendition is fairly faithful to the original studio recording, the band are a little looser and much faster in the delivery. Drummers Dale Crover and Coady Willis chopped away simultaneously behind their drum kits, giving the band a rumbling wall of percussion from which to build. Meanwhile, guitarist and vocalist Buzz Osborne shows his axe mastery. While the band are usually cited as one of the first experimental and droney punk bands, it's less mentioned how much of a guitar-fiend Osborne is. On "Rat Faced Granny," Osborne tears out muscular riff after riff that could have fit on any '70s classic rock head banger. Then as the song is ripping along, he gets weird with his instrument and makes skittering, spacey sounds that could fit on an Alice Cooper or Pink Floyd record. Simply put, the band crushes.

It's interesting that "Rat Faced Granny" ends with the band screaming "You think you're wild / but you're nothing new!" over and over, because on the flipside are Melvins' pals Fucked Up, who are often cited as one of the freshest, most original bands in modern punk rock. Indeed, "21st Century Cling-Ons" shows the band evolving from even their latest release, the lauded David Comes to Life LP. While David Comes to Life was daring in concept, in some ways, the songs were so massive that they existed more as texture than notes. By contrast, "21st Century Cling-Ons" features the band returning to a more riff-driven sound. Surprisingly, the song opens up as a punk-ish doo wop number while vocalist Damian Abraham laments in his unique growl. After Abraham descends into a mess of despair, the song suddenly switches gears and snaps into a '70s hard rocker while Abraham, now fired up, roars over the top. Frankly, it's amazing how much mileage Abraham can get out of his limited range. The actual sound of his voice might not change, but he expertly modifies the timbre so that instead of simply existing alongside the music's rapid evolution, he becomes a part of it, and a singular part at that. Fucked Up are continuing to evolve and looking to get even more interesting than it was before, if that is possible.

Due to its limited nature and limited amount of material, the release is for collectors only, but, are there any fans of either of these bands that aren't collectors?