Melvins - Nude with Boots (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Nude with Boots (2008)


The problem with a new Melvins album is that it has 25 years' worth of material to stack up to. And even though the band seems to find new ways to inject newness into the band, some albums are just going to turn out better than others.

(A) Senile Animal was truly a work of confidence, structure and sheer force. The addition of Big Business as the rhythm section gave the added dimensions of a second drummer and vocalist, as well as a dominant bass player. And after a few years of digesting it, I'm extremely convinced that it's some of the best material that Melvins have produced: grungy, crusty -- a return to their earlier form without abandoning the experimentalism and innovation that has come about in the aughts or their huge drone of the nineties.

Before assumptions are made, let me state this: Nude with Boots is not a regression in any way. The album pushes forward, adopting a more hard-rock-in-lieu-of-heavy-metal influence for the opener, "The Kicking Machine," and the shit-kicking "Suicide in Progress." And what's more shocking is the major chord progressions present in both songs and the very melodic title track, which seems so blatantly out of place and almost jam-bandy that it couldn't be anything BUT a Melvins song.

"Billy Fish" and "Dog Island" call up the band's droning past, and the harsh riffs of "The Smiling Cobra" and "The Stupid Creep" could have been B-sides to (A) Senile Animal. "The Savage Hippy" features some solid Crover pounding and classic Buzzo riffage seemingly recorded through a megaphone, and the album closes with the march-tastic "It Tastes Better Than the Truth."

And the songs are all good. The longer I've listened to it, the more they've digested. Each one of them has a proper place in the band's canon, yet the album feels slapdash and crooked. It's hard to get a cohesiveness, and in a way the abstraction lends itself to the idea of a lopsided album -- the only problem is that following up one of their greatest pushes forward in solidarity, they seem to have drifted further from the path. Which, I guess, is fitting for the band.