Rhythm & Views


"The past makes no sense / The future looks tense / I'm Now," Mudhoney decry on the first track ("I'm Now") of The Lucky Ones, their eighth record in 20 years.

Perhaps the key to Mudhoney's longevity resides in their still-intact point of view after two decades of making music together. Cut through the walls of fuzz and reverb, and Mudhoney have always been pointedly, sarcastically irreverent, refusing to not only take themselves too seriously, but also not to take being in a rock band too seriously. There's always been the sense, especially from frontman Mark Arm, that the whole rock 'n' roll thing is sort of ridiculous, a shared in-joke with their friends and fans. This has, through some sort of perverse reverse osmosis, also helped them be a truly great garage band. The fact that they are terrific players obviously helps.

Mudhoney are on full torque here, playing with the snarling energy of teenagers but from the perspective of experience. Recorded in 3 1/2 days by Tucker Martine, The Lucky Ones is mean, stripped-down and prickly. "Inside Out Over You" and the title cut take their cues from the fuzz-boxed punk rock of the early Stooges, while "Tales of Terror" is a mass of twisted metal and sharp edges. "And the Shimmering Light" is more on the psychedelic side, and "What's This Thing?" is a demented blues stomp. Arm, guitar titan Steve Turner, drummer Dan Peters and bassist Guy Maddison play as one, watching each other's backs.

That chortle you hear is the sound of Mudhoney having the last laugh.