Mudhoney 2xCD reissue review by Steve Miller
May 27, 2008, 14:55
MUDHONEY Superfuzz Bigmuff Deluxe Edition 2xCD
It was pivotal, this massive sound dressed in long hair, tees and jeans that was Mudhoney in 1988. The foursome from Seattle played like punks, looked like tepid rejects from the once-mighty, now fallen Black Flag, and in general created confusion both aurally and visually. They drank beer and smoked in their arresting photo sessions, and when they sang about being sick and sweet young things, it was altogether believable. There was some pandering crap being written about the “Seattle sound,” but it could easily be dismissed as the meanderings of a press desperate to categorize. To us in the Midwest, it was hippies yanking everyone's chain and a bunch of us called bullshit. Long hair was for Rollins and his dopey followers, and if you weren't Motorhead, you better leave the power chords alone. And we weren't crazy about the hippy beads one of the dudes donned on the cover of their first EP.
Superfuzz Bigmuff, though, warranted some repeat spins, and there was some growing murmurs in our snobby ranks that this shit was the Real Deal. “In 'n' Out of Grace” was the first song that tipped us over, biker rock with Blue Cheer vibes. Then “You Got It” came ripping through, all screechy anti-rock.
Over the years, the band has managed some really insightful variance (the joint EP with Jimmie Dale Gilmore) and some very ill-advised, embarrassingly out-of-touch lyrical meanderings into politics (Under a Billion Sons). But we always have Superfuzz Bigmuff to come back to.
This is the deluxe edition of the original 6-song, now expanded to 32 cuts that include some singles, two live sets and some comp cuts. The sound is perhaps even more enlightening now than 20 years ago, although the live stuff doesn't add much to the situation; the studio is where these guys have always shined. The nasty ooze of the guitars, frantic yelps of what could be vocals, the prime-time rhythm section, it's all one cluster of rock that should never have come from Seattle, considering what that city's tarnished legacy has become. If New York had ever produced a decent rock band, it would have been Mudhoney, smart, unhinged, full of attitude. This sounds better now than it ever did. Just like Blue Cheer. [Sub Pop]