LIVE AT EL SOL - Mudhoney (Munster)
If there was ever a band to come of the Pacific North-West grunge mess with their armour intact, it's Mudhoney. Not for them the ignominy of chewing on the end of a shotgun amid mixed feelings and smack, or becoming bland stadium parodies. Mudhoney might have gone out of fashion with the mainstream media but not their fans. This is a band whose name even perfectly sums up their sound, for gawdsake.

What if it took them the same length of time it takes to read "War & Peace" backwards to commit to that traditional vestige of bands with nothing left to say, the live album? Then they recorded two. So there's a live in Mexico thing kicking around that I haven't heard, but In this case (Spain 2007) they clearly did have something to say - even if the statement' was about how good it feels to play all the "hits" in a crowded Spanish rock club. Plus the odd then-current album song and surprise cover (like Black Flag's "Fix Me".)

This is a tremendous set that builds and builds. Where it really takes off is track five, the unruly and under-appreciated "Inside Job", where the rest of the band locks in and sounds propels vocalist Mark Arm off the runway like a Boeing 767. "No One Has" rumbles off the back of that one like a fighter escort on Air Force One duties. It crashes to a halt and by the time the evil "Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More" slides out from under a rock (like a heavily medicated descendent of "Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell" that grabbed some supplementary downers), you're inside a blast furnace.

Arm is in splendid form and Steve Turner's seeping, seething guitar is all over this set. You can almost feel the wah-wah bowl you over midway through "Mudlside".

Aussie-ophiles will note the presence of new-ish bassist and former Lubricated Goat member Guy Maddison as Matt Lukin's replacement. Audiophiles will note the mix is clear enough to see through.

So what's to say other than if you're a fan of Mudhoney then you need to make this essential listening? Nothing, so we'll end it there with a note to Aussies that local distributors Fuse Music have managed to open up a pipeline of local supplies. So now you know what to tell your retailer. - The Barman

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