Release DetailsLABEL Alternative Tentacles Records
RELEASED ON 9/9/2005
Jello Biafra & The Melvins
posted on 9/2005 By:
I am not going to argue that describing this conglomeration of politically like-minded individuals is difficult. In fact, I’ll admit that it’s pretty damn easy. Look at the name; Jello Biafra and the Melvins. Jello Biafra brings humorously scathing lyrics and a unique vocal styling while the Melvins, along with Tool guitarist Adam Jones deliver sometimes sludgy but mostly punk riffs. Call it honest advertising.
Sieg Howdy! is the group’s second outing and its ten tracks consist of four song types; one extended version of a song from their debut, two cover songs, four exclusive tracks, and three remixed versions of songs from their debut. As slapped together as this album reads, you’ll find that it all works rather seamlessly. Jumping from an Alice Cooper cover (“Halo of Flies”) to the extended track “The Lighter Side of Global Terrorism” does not require a comfortably schizophrenic state of mind. Speaking of the former, Biafra and his instrumental cohorts do Cooper right by maintaining the original’s attitude and addictive, driving riff while playing with the vocal delivery enough to distinguish the two. The extended track is the most disposable of the ten tracks because the original was a punk song and adding three minutes to the original’s four makes it three minutes too long. That said, if you don’t have the original you won’t see it as the throwaway that it is to those who own Never Breathe What You Can’t See. “Kalifornia Uber Alles” joins “Halo of Flies” to round out Sieg Howdy’s! covers. A live recording of Biafra and the Melvins playing a Dead Kennedy’s staple, the song could have sounded stale, but Osborne throws in some sludge influences to give it a life of its own and make it one of the album’s stronger songs. The last three tracks from What You Can’t See are remixed with interesting results. Strange synth beats aren’t just thrown into the mix for the hell of it, which is what I had initially feared. Well, “Dawn of the Locusts” comes close to that, but “Enchanted Thoughtfist” and “Caped Crusader” improve on the originals by adding layers that strengthen the character of Osborne’s riffs.
The four songs exclusive to Sieg Howdy! should not surprise anyone in possession of What You Can’t See, as they don’t stray too far from the punk meets sludge territory established by the original, which is fine by me. Melvins fans will find “Wholly Bun Bull” and “Voted Off the Island” especially to their liking, as both briefly incorporate a sludge riff or two, but anyone offended by speedier material should be warned that Sieg Howdy! is about three parts punk and one part sludge. “Those Dumb Punk Kids (Will Buy Anything)” is not only the strongest of the exclusive tracks, but also the strongest of any track on the album as a whole. Riffs come fast and Biafra lets loose with a diatribe that name-drops everyone from Nirvana to Black Flag.
Often times supergroups like Jello Biafra and the Melvins produce uninspired material that falls short of pleasing fan expectations, but for the second time Biafra, Osborne, Jones, Rutmanis, and Crover manage to record an album’s worth of sarcastic, intelligent, uncompromising, and fun music.
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