Dig­i­tal Garbage Sub PoP

Classic Rock - - Reviews - Sleaze­grinder dan­nii leivers

The re­turn of rock’s last sane men.

First of all, thank Christ there’s a new Mudhoney record out. Mark Arm and crew were al­ways the eye­rolling bull­shit de­tec­tors of grunge’s brown wave and holy smokes, and we’re tits-deep in bull­shit these days.

If there is one thing cer­tain in this world, it’s that the new Mudhoney record is gonna sound like the old Mudhoney record, and that’s just the kind of con­sis­tency we need in these per­ilous times. They don’t ex­per­i­ment with harps or ex­tended remixes or any­thing here. There’s a syn­the­siser, but it’s a chintzy late-70s new-wave syn­the­siser, so it’s cool.

One thing, though: it al­ways seems out of touch when rock’n’roll leg­ends use the par­lance of the times in their lyrics. Like when Alice Cooper sings about how he ‘dis­con­nected my Xbox’, or Mike Mon­roe tells you to ‘talk to the hand’. So when Arm opens slip­pery 60s punk stom­per Kill Your­self Live with ‘When I killed my­self live, I got so many likes’, you do sorta won­der if Mudhoney lec­tur­ing you about Face­book is re­ally what you need right now. Well, strap in, be­cause there’s a lot of lessons on this one, from the mass shooter-themed Please Mr Gun­man to Next Mass Ex­tinc­tion, a smack­down of the neo-Nazi mo­rons in the Char­lottesville protests. Sure, even Touch Me I’m Sick was po­lit­i­cal on some level, but this al­bum is ag­gres­sively top­i­cal. Sub Pop meets CNN. But, world­weary-mid­dle-aged-dude-try­ing-to-cope blues aside, Dig­i­tal Garbage is a thrillingly di­rect rock’n’roll record. In fact some of these songs are as bru­tal and snotty as any Mudhoney have ever done, in par­tic­u­lar Ne­an­der­fuck, an Iggy-es­que bruiser with a sludgy Cree­dence Clear­wa­ter riff that harkens back to Mudhoney’s Green River days, or the rag­ing, acidic, hi­lar­i­ously sar­cas­tic Pros­per­ity Gospel (‘Get rich, you win!’).

Speak­ing of sar­casm, the afore­men­tioned Mr Gun­man is the most fucked-up sin­ga­long punk jam in ages

– I can hardly wait to scream: ‘We’d rather die in church!’ with a room full of drunken rock goons the next time they’re in town. Ul­ti­mately, that’s what you come away with on Dig­i­tal Garbage: an ac­knowl­edg­ment that the world may be in flames, but we can still choose to laugh and lis­ten to punk rock as it burns.

They might not un­der­stand the ap­peal of these new-fan­gled so­cial me­dia apps, but these crusty old salts still know how to de­liver solid, pen­e­trat­ing, lifeaf­firm­ing rock’n’roll. God knows where most artists would be with­out their in­spi­ra­tions, but we know the best bands out there are ca­pa­ble of ab­sorb­ing them, chew­ing them up and spitting out some­thing fresh.

Guild­ford’s Icarus Dive are very much in their in­fancy, and on this four-track EP they’re still fig­ur­ing out how to put their own stamp on their dis­tinc­tive in­flu­ences. Hy­dra leans heav­ily on Muse’s bom­bas­tic guitar histri­on­ics and Queen­har­monies, and there’s more than just a touch of Matt

Bel­lamy in vo­cal­ist Joe Crook’s ur­gent wail.

There’s also an in­trigu­ingly pro­gres­sive mind-set on dis­play here. Be­neath the chunky, tur­bocharged rif­fery of Mes­merised and Mur­der And Lies, the band are jug­gling jagged riffs and shape-shift­ing shards of rhythm, which on The New Gods take on QOTSA-meets-early Biffy Clyro in­ten­tions. It sug­gests that, given time, Icarus Drive will take the fa­mil­iar and turn it into some­thing very ex­cit­ing in­deed.

Pro­gres­sive-minded up­starts grap­ple with their in­flu­ences.

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