26 Songs

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10 Songs was itself a fine if short view of the Melvins soon after they started, but 26 Songs, a thorough expansion of the original CD to include just about every last demo and early comp appearance and more that they could get their hands on from those days, takes the cake as the truly necessary release. Besides some beautifully scabrous liner notes from, presumably, Buzz Osborne -- whose description of the group's shabby treatment via certain more popular groups from Seattle is brief but eye-opening -- the release benefits from better sound, cover art in line with the group's recent Ipecac efforts, and more loud, fuzzy monstrosity than one could almost handle. After the original ten songs, the bonus tracks start with the original 6 Songs single -- the tracks were all redone for 10 Songs but are, in fact, slightly earlier recordings. Mastered from glorious crackly vinyl, it's even more of a murky tromp through such songs as "Easy as It Was" and "At a Crawl," but that's definitely part of the appeal, and Osborne sounds even more guttural and unhinged on "Now a Limo" and "Grinding Process." More crackle turns up on the three following songs, all outtakes from that session -- besides two further alternates is "Set Me Straight" -- more crunchy sludge madness that's not quite winsome pop but could sort of be the Melvins' take on same during the chorus, if one squints. Most of the remaining tracks come from yet another session, with a slightly (if only just) more trebly sound amid the usual sprawl of feedback; a completely deranged take on "Snake Appeal"; and two otherwise unknown numbers, "Breakfast on the Fly" (more of the same) and "Operation Blessing" (high speed mania Metallica could love). Enjoyably ridiculous early comp appearances -- "Ever Since My Accident," and "Hugh" -- the befuddled ramblings of a high school friend of the band high on angel dust before a messy blues jam is played -- concludes the disc.

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