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Mudhoney - Since We've Become Translucent

  by Mark Rowland

published: 22 / 7 / 2002

Mudhoney - Since We've Become Translucent
Label: Sub Pop
Format: CD


Spectacular eighth album " packed full of.... Stooges-inspired rock n roll " from Godfathers of Grunge, Mudhoney

Ah, yes, the Mudhoney of ancient legend. Everyone's heard of Mudhoney, one of the original grunge bands way back in the mists of the late Eighties, the very first grunge band to be noticed in Europe with that song- the sublime 'Touch Me I'm Sick'- and their debut 'Superfuzz Bigmuff' (A full album that included 'Touch Me ,I'm Sick' in Europe and a six track mini-album in the States). After this time, Mudhoney fell behind in the super-star stakes, as Alice in Chains', then Nirvana's, then Soundgarden's, and finally Pearl Jam's sales figures went sky-high. This was partly because of the band's refusal for a long time to sign to a major label, standing by Sub Pop until the last minute, and partly because of their very different sound to their peers. While Nirvana had a marketable pop-hardcore sound and Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains were heavily influenced by popular seventies metal acts like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Aerosmith (all very easy to sell), Mudhoney's sound was a lot more lo-fi, more influenced by late sixties/early seventies proto-punk bands like the Stooges than they were by Black Flag or Led Zeppelin. As a result, Mudhoney never reached the heights of fame as other first generation grunge bands. Yes, everyone's heard of Mudhoney, but a lot less people have actually heard them. In this new era of rock, however, where Garage is the new Grunge, Mudhoney's garage-y sludge fits in perfectly, and their eighth album 'Since We've Become Translucent' could see them getting all the recognition they have deserved for the last 15 years. With this album, Mudhoney have hired a horn section for tracks like opener 'Baby, Can You Dig the Light', a lengthy, trippy dirge sprinkled with sparse, abstract vocals. Don't worry though, Mudhoney still haven't rejected their fuzz-driven roots. Apart from the odd opener, 'Since We've become Translucent' is packed full of the Stooges-inspired rock n roll with which Mudhoney made their name, and the inclusion of piano and horn sections on several tracks gives Mudhoney a bigger sound, without changing it too much. Without the horns, the pervert rock of 'Where the Flavor is' and the vintage rock n roll swagger of 'Take it like a man' wouldn't have half their impact. Not every track, however, uses horns.For those of you that like their rock n roll straight-forward and with minimal arrangements. 'The Straight Life' is pure untainted Mudhoney, just the core of the band, with no extra musicians or sections. It is perhaps important to note that this is Mudhoney's first album without bass player Matt Lukin, who decided to retire from music after the release of 'Tomorrow Hit Today' in 1998. He has been replaced by Guy Maddison, who used to play for bands like Bloodloss and the oddly named Lubricated Goat. This hasn't really affected the band's style too much, apart from perhaps cleaning some of the sludge out of their sound. What is noticable over Mudhoney's eight albums is that the blues element to their sound has slowly become more and more pronounced, and the heart of '...Translucent' definitely beats blues in its arrangments and lyrics. Sure, it's fast, distorted blues, but it's still blues. 'In the Winner's Circle' is probably the most bluesy track on the album, with a slower melancholic rhythm, and blues chord progression. 'Inside Job', which features Wayne Kramer from Garage rock legends the MC5 on bass, is the kind of perfect electric blues rock that would make Kramer's former band proud. What makes 'Since we've Become Translucent' so good, however, is that while other Grunge bands fizzled out after about six or seven years, or started losing their original spark on their later albums, Mudhoney still sound as fresh and energetic now as they did fifteen years and eight albums ago. Mudhoney haven't always got it right, but they've still got enough fire left in them to deliver exciting rock albums.

Track Listing:-
1 Baby, Can You Dig The Light
2 The Straight Life
3 Where The Flavor Is
4 In The Winner's Circle
5 Our Time Is Now
6 Dyin' For It
7 Inside Job
8 Take It Like A Man
9 Crooked And Wide
10 Sonic Infusion

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