The Earaches

Time on Fire

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Although Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and that lot ended up getting all the money, adulation, and attendant problems during the Seattle explosion, there's a vocal subset of fans who maintain to this day that the best band the Pacific Northwest produced during the whole grunge era was Mudhoney. At a time when seemingly everyone else wanted to be Black Sabbath (except for the Posies, who wanted to be the Hollies), Mudhoney wanted to be the Electric Prunes, and their shaggy, garagey rock & roll still sounds as fresh and vital as Soundgarden's albums sound logy and dated. This history is important because, on the basis of Time on Fire, the Earaches would love to be Mudhoney. All of the 14 tracks on the supremely cruddy-sounding Time on Fire, a record apparently mixed and mastered in a studio where bass-frequency notes are severely discouraged, have a trebly hiss to them, all the better to match August Henrich's petulant yowl of a voice. There is one hands-down brilliant single here, "Useless," which genuinely ranks up there with the Mudhoney classic "Touch Me I'm Sick" for its pummeling adolescent angst. Though the rest of the album doesn't quite live up to those standards, it's still as good as straight-up lo-fi garage rock gets at the moment.

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