In previous posts, I’ve held Mudhoney up as the prototype of grunge. I still think that’s probably right, but Seaweed would fill that void if Mudhoney didn’t exist. If the definition of grunge is a mix of metal and punk with depressing, emo lyrics and downtuned guitars, this is pretty much the epitome of grunge records. The main differentiator between this and grunge stalwarts like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains is that this sounds much more hardcore punk, with its diminution of low end, the band not completely shaking their roots even as they progress admirably.
Four of the album’s five best tracks are also among its first five tracks. All four full hearts are up there (“Chalk The Cracks” is my new go-to pump-up song while running and is not to be missed), and “Wait For The Fade” is the standout on the back half of the disc. Every song’s good, but the relative weakness of roughly half the album, where riffs and segments succeed alone but fail to find their way into a cohesive song, keep the album just shy of 4.5 clowns.
I’ve mentioned drummer Bob Bulgrien’s amazingness before, and he continues to be the star. He’s even better here than on their prior two albums. He’s half machine, half beast, all drumsexgod. I could just sit, watch, and listen to him drum for ages.
The band’s evolving on this album. Their songwriting’s getting more complex as they gradually move away from their hardcore beginnings. The songs stitch together segments of varied tempi, dynamics, harmony, and melody (with varied results, as mentioned above), though the timbre remains overall one of hardcore throughout. It’s their best album so far (he writes 19 years after the fact), despite the unevenness. The high points are just that much better than their prior high points.
– “Losing Skin,” “Chalk The Cracks,” “One Inch Punch,” “Kid Candy”
- Losing Skin – Fast.
- Card Tricks – Strong moments, weak moments. Worth keeping around but gets bogged down too often.
- Chalk The Cracks – Almost the best song ever. Gets me so pumped.
- One Inch Punch – Another really fast one. Close to being a full heart, but parts, particularly the intro, aren’t fully inspired. “Break every object in the place.”
- Kid Candy – The single. Any review of this album has to mention that this video was on Beavis And Butthead. I swear the lyrics are about Lois Lane. Gets bogged down a titch before the final run, but I’ma leave it full.
- Oversight – There are a handful of moments on the disc where things feel thrown together just to make the album longer. This song is probably the least inspired on here.
- Turnout – Starts off almost thrashy. Very thrash feel to the record, especially with all that high end.
- In Fairness – Great start. Kind of uninteresting harmony. Vocal line doesn’t quite work. Right down there with “Oversight” as the worst track here.
- Wait For The Fade – This isn’t full? It’s close.
- Metal Gazer – Short instrumental. Last eight seconds almost make it a full heart.
- Your Privilege – Short again, but not as short and with lyrics.