Continuing their ongoing string of lineup experiments, Melvins stalwarts Dale Crover and King Buzzo team up with Butthole Surfers' Paul Leary and J.D. Pinkus on Hold It In. With such a distinct sound, the band's various personnel changes often feel somewhat superfluous, offering a variation on their usual sound without altering things too far from the kind of sludgy goodness listeners have come to know and love. With the addition of Pinkus and Leary, however, it feels as though a very fundamental shift has occurred, taking the band's sound in some very different, and interesting, new directions. Although the album's opener, "Bride of Crankenstein," feels like classic Melvins with its constant assault of crunchy riffs and grimy production, Hold It In enjoys a radical change in tone on "You Can Make Me Wait," a laid-back rocker with a groovy, slacker vibe that leaves it feeling more like Ween than the Melvins. Meanwhile, "Eyes on You" finds the band doing a freaked-out impression of a straight-ahead blues-rock number, pairing a rowdy, stomping beat (with handclaps and all) with oddly paranoid vocals. Those songs were penned by Leary, and the decision to hand the control to someone else is a bold one on Crover and Buzzo's part. Though the album contains plenty of odd twists and turns, there's enough of the old Melvins to keep things from straying too far from home, offering more than a few comforting oases for listeners to refresh themselves before they head out to explore some of Hold It In's weirder moments, making for a mix of the strange and the familiar that feels like classic Melvins without necessarily sounding like the bandmembers are borrowing ideas from themselves.
Hold It In Review
by Gregory Heaney