The Melvins: Bulls & The Bees/Electroretard (Re-Issue) (Ipecac)

Grunge pioneers dust off two mini albums for re-issue

Released Jun 17th, 2015 via Ipecac / By Erick Mertz
The Melvins: Bulls & The Bees/Electroretard (Re-Issue) (Ipecac) I was sixteen the first time I heard The Melvins. My sophomore English class sat around deconstructing Pearl Jam’s Vs on its release. Too young to get in, a few of us stood shoulder-to-shoulder outside the late X-Ray Café just to feel that feral rage that Nirvana brought to the stage every night. Oregon was burning that year, the Oregon Citizen’s Alliance promoting anti-gay legislation that sent everyone over the edge. The Melvins though? Permission to toke one and kick over the cafeteria garbage cans on our way to skipping class at the auto shop.

Ipeac Records has opted to re-issue two Melvin’s recordings, 2012’s The Bulls & The Bees, originally a 5-song download only release (at that point, their first original material in almost two years, one helluva long time for the prolific group) and 2001’s experimentally focused, Electroretard. The Bulls & The Bees half fills up with what might be deemed a moodier side of the Melvins, from the ominously dark thundercloud, “The War On Wisdom” to “Doomed” a stoner riff from way back, reminding anyone who was there how cool grunge could have been before it was co-opted and codified. The experimental Melvins get plenty of space to noodle and jam too, “Friends Before Larry” and “A Really Long Wait” delving into the space rock and proto drone metal sounds.

The second half, Electroretard is even more curious. Built around a couple of nine-minute cover songs, the Wipers fast driving “Youth of America” and Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive” it showcases some of that couch surfing nuttiness that makes the Melvins such a terrific indulgence. The first track, “Shit Storm” is a backmasking experiment while the short, warbling vocal “Gluey Porch Treatments” and feedback intense, “Tipping The Lion” are re-invigorated versions of some old material that proves the band, still kicking after all these years, remains bent on a one of a kind sense of reckless reinvention.