The Lucky Ones marks Mudhoney's twentieth anniversary as a band, and in those two decades they've evolved from the guys that first brought the Seattle sound to loser record collectors around the world into a living anachronism as the Last Grunge Band Left Alive. But The Lucky Ones is a telling album to release on Mudhoney's big birthday, as it's the simplest and most unadorned album the band has released since 1995's overlooked masterpiece My Brother the Cow, and also the best. While Since We've Become Translucent and Under a Billion Suns proved Mudhoney had lost nothing in the way of fire or focus in the Twenty-First Century, The Lucky Ones is a brave step backwards into the primitivism of Superfuzz Bigmuff, and though Tucker Martine's engineering and mix is cleaner and better detailed than what Jack Endino brought to the band's early sessions, the approach seems much the same -- roll tape and lurch into the songs with all the muscle the boys can muster, and when the band kicks into fourth gear on "The Open Mind," "I'm Now" and the title cut, this stuff comes on as raw and messed-up as anything Mudhoney has unleashed in years, and Steve Turner's guitar work is little short of feral. The twisted sense of humor that informed much of Mudhoney's "classic period" is in short supply, but Mark Arm's command of the verbal sneer remains unsurpassed, and when he bellows "the lucky ones have already gone down," its with the voice of the leader of the last gang in town. For good or ill Mudhoney remain bloody but unbowed, heavyweight champions of fuzz and feedback, and on the evidence of The Lucky Ones, no one with any sense is going to challenge their title anytime soon; they built this strange machine, and they can drive it better than anyone before or since.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming