Album Review: The Melvins – ‘Pinkus Abortion Technician’
The Melvins are back at it again with their latest sludgy shenanigans on Pinkus Abortion Technician, which sees the band make a step towards more traditional power rock, well and truly wrapped in irony with subtle tongue-in-cheek jabs. The name should be enough of a hint, as a cheeky reference to the Butthole Surfers (who names these bands?) bizarre album ‘Locust Abortion Technician’, with an additional bass player, Jeff Pinkus, joining the ranks to make a doubly deep sound.
The opening track, ‘Stop Moving To Florida’, rips open the album with a crunchy, uplifting rock anthem, evocative of the classic power ballads you could blast in a long car trip with friends. Then, as if turning into another track completely, the song shifts to an obtusely repetitive, ploddy parody of redneck America, with Buzz Osbourne doing his finest white trash impression.
Unfortunately the joke wears a bit thin at the 4-minute mark, but the song is a good indicator of the weirdness and subversive nature of the album.
The record ebbs and flows between power ballads like ‘Break Bread’ and ominous tracks like ‘Don’t Forget To Breathe’, showing off a variety of styles and energy which makes for compelling listening.
Pinkus Abortion Technician also has an interesting variety of instrumentation and sounds – the banjo on ‘Flamboyant Duck’, and soft acoustic guitars mixed with phaser/wah effects found on the menacing ‘Prenup Butter’ are just a few examples of unlikely sounds found across the record.
Perhaps the most notable song is actually a cover of The Beatles ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’. Treated with Melvins’ style fuzz and sludge, bellowed lyrics, and given a cacophonous outro of squealing feedback, it’s a standout moment of the album that feels self aware of it’s overblown treatment of a classic.
Perhaps the biggest issue with Pinkus Abortion Technician are its repetitive passages in certain songs. ‘Don’t Forget To Breathe’ is an awesome, strutty song with a great foreboding feeling, but, at 7 minutes long, it does little to grow or evolve and justify it’s length.
These drawn out moments on the album are just highlighted by some of the more exploratory parts, that chop and change in all sorts of directions. It becomes quite noticeable when the songs start off strong but don’t maintain that dynamism in the long term.
Overall, Pinkus Abortion Technician is an interesting and varied album, with some strange sounds and memorable directions typical of The Melvins, but let down by moments of stagnation and overblown repetition in the length of the tracks. Even with that said, it still has plenty of quality songs bearing interesting traits, and would sit well with any listener partial to some thick fuzz.