Mudhoney - LiE (Live in Europe) (Cover Artwork)


LiE (Live in Europe) (2018)

SuB pop

Mudhoney’s Live in Europe (LiE) is a towering testament to their raw power as incendiary live performers. According to Sub Pop, the set was captured across their 2016 European tour and is the first official Mudhoney live album that will also serve as a prologue to a new album and celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary. The setlist contains tracks from Mudhoney, Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, Piece of Cake, My Brother the Cow, Tomorrow Hit Today, The Lucky Ones, and most recently 2013’s Vanishing Point.

The initial impression as the fuzz guitars blast from the speakers is an obvious homage to the Stooges. Mark Arm has previously declared his love for the seminal punk godfathers, and on 8/23/2015 was joined by Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Duff McKagan (Guns ‘N Roses), and Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees) for a raucous set of Stooges covers atop the Pike Place Market in Seattle. In addition to Iggy’s cacophonous crew, Mudhoney also share a sonic lineage with Washington’s garage rockers the Sonics and the Wailers. Unfortunately, in the annals of rock history, Mudhoney are perpetually overshadowed as an integral component of the Pacific Northwest sound but continue to soldier on as one of the only bands left standing with the most original members. LiE is a vindication of survival and a definitive sonic statement.

It’s easy to take Mudhoney for granted considering the dogged consistency they have shown with each new album release. On this collection, songs from 2013’s Vanishing Point sound as savage and vital as the tracks from their earliest albums, revealing a band unwilling to dilute or weaken their attack over the years. Most songs in this set provide permutations on the four-count stomp of “TV Eye” and the strut and swagger of “Down on the Street.” Guitar solos roar with bent notes that sound on the verge of strangulation, and the band tears through a loose, primal set that never totally careens off the rails.

There are a few flaws in this collection. Despite the guitars bringing the massive thunder, Mark Arm’s voice gets lost in the onslaught on multiple tracks. Also, most songs are painted in a monochromatic Funhouse orange without much diversity until the final track “Broken Hands.” These are minor complaints for an otherwise exhilarating reminder of the live beast Mudhoney remains after 30 years. LiE serves as a delectable appetizer for the new album set for later this year.