(Mudhoney) The world is filling up with trash. Humanity remains addicted to pollution despite the planet getting hotter by the minute. People are downing horse dewormer because some goober on television told them it cured COVID. Tom Herman of pioneering avant garage band Pere Ubu still doesn’t have his own Wikipedia article. The apocalypse, it seems, is stupider than anyone could’ve predicted.
Fortunately, the absurdities of modern life have always been prime subject matter for Seattle-based band Mudhoney. The foursome take aim at all of them with barbed humor and muck-encrusted riffs on Plastic Eternity, their 11th studio album. SUB POP Records
Mudhoney: Plastic Eternity
Mudhoney (vocalist Mark Arm, guitarist Steve Turner, bassist Guy Maddison, and drummer Dan Peters) remain the ur underground group, their gnarly primordial punk stew and Arm’s sharply funny lyrics as potent a combination as they’ve been since the band’s formation in the late 1980s. From taking on climate change from the perspective of the climate if the climate tried to play guitar like Jimi Hendrix (“Cry Me An Atmospheric River”) to a driving rock and roll song about taking drugs meant for livestock (“Here Comes the Flood”) to a classic punk attack on treating humans like livestock (“Human Stock Capital”), Plastic Eternity is a heady run through all the proto-genres of guitar rock with a keen eye on the inanities of the world in the 2020’s.
The recording of Plastic Eternity delivered several firsts for the band. With Maddison planning on moving his family to Australia, Mudhoney was forced to work on a deadline, booking nine days at Crackle & Pop! in Seattle with longtime producer Johnny Sangster. Since the pandemic had made it impossible for them to convene in their practice space for nearly a year and a half, this meant they were going in to make a record with an assortment of half-forgotten riffs and nascent ideas rather than fully-fledged, well-rehearsed songs.
This was unusual for a band used to writing songs by “standing in a room and looking at each other and playing,” says Arm. “We had the time and space to think about things as we were doing them, and to make a kind of course correction—to use a fucking terrible cliche.” They built “Flush the Fascists” around a looping synth line, broke out a harmonizer on two tracks, added a vocoder to “Plasticity,” and even created a protest song out of a spontaneous jam on “Move Under,” the chorus of which Arm calls “something the Runaways might have come up with if they were us.” “Undermine the foundations/ Of the lies that they repeat,” implores Arm on the chorus. “You gotta move under/ Until it all comes down.” SUB POP Records
1. Souvenir of My Trip
2. Almost Everything
3. Cascades of Crap
4. Flush the Fascists
5. Move Under 03:32
6. Severed Dreams in the Sleeper Cell
7. Here Comes the Flood
8. Human Stock Capital
9. Tom Herman’s Hermits
10. One or Two
11. Cry Me an Atmospheric River
13. Little Dogs