Melvins Lite, Freak Puke

Jon Wiederhorn

By Jon Wiederhorn

on 06.05.12 in Reviews

Freak Puke

Melvins Lite
Stoner rock, acid-jazz, experimental classical and whacked-out prog

For their latest adventure in the otherworld, The Melvins have recruited stand-up bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle), dropped to a single drummer (longtime member Dale Crover, temporarily sidelining Big Business bassist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis) — hence the name Melvins Lite — and written 10 excursions filled with abrupt rhythm shifts, playful genre-dabbling and the requisite level of fuzzed-out guitars and stomp-box effects. Despite the heaviness of some of the songs, Freak Puke is more heavy-lidded than it is heavy, a warped mix of stoner rock, acid-jazz, experimental classical and whacked-out prog. Crover’s drums are often understated and low in the mix, leaving Dunn to provide much of the character with a blend of meandering string plucks and rapid, skittering avant-garde bowing redolent of an orchestra warming up before a symphony, and frontman Buzz Osborne compliments the songs with an array of layered, synapse-frazzling solos and sedated vocals. Melvins Lite maintain a psychedelic vibe throughout, whether showcasing crunching, wah-wah saturated riffs (“Freak Puke,” “Worm Farm Waltz”), slow, droning rhythms (“Mr. Rip Off,” “Holy Barbarians”) or following their own skewed internal logic (“Tommy Goes Berserk,” “Baby Won’t You Weird Me Out”). And their cover of the Wings’ “Let me Roll It” sounds like they’re singing about PCP-laced joints instead of McCartney’s intended wheel of love. Freak Puke is yet another example of the abundant creativity of Osborne and Crover.