Let’s get one thing out in the open right off the bat – I fucking love The Melvins. I am, however, usually a little bit cautious about albums made up entirely of covers (don’t blame you). Often they can be signs of a band low on ideas or lacking motivation and they are all too often disappointing affairs. No one could accuse Buzz and co of either of those two things though. The Melvins have been staggeringly prolific over their near thirty years of existence, they’ve also maintained a level of quality other bands can only dream of while bestowing upon us some brain scrambling fantastic albums.
Everybody Love Sausages will arrive on the 30th of April via Mike Patton’s Ipecac Records, and features 13 cover versions from bands as diametrically opposed as Venom and Queen to The Kinks and Throbbing Gristle. If that’s not enough to peak your interest, as if a new album by The Melvins wasn’t enough, there’s also a plethora of guest appearances by the likes of Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Mark Arm (Mudhoney), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) and J.G Thirwell (Foetus).
Everybody Loves Sausages kicks off with an interpretation of Venom’s Warhead and features Scott Kelly on vocals. It sounds like a characteristically sludgy, mid-paced Melvins track and if you didn’t know any better you could be forgiven for thinking it was an original but it captures the menacing vibe of Venom’s version brilliantly. The next track couldn’t sound more different if it tried. A chirping, chiming, advertising jingle sounding adaptation of Queen’s You’re My Best Friend. It’s the Melvins at their most light hearted and playful while Caleb Benjamin from Tweek Bird pulls off his best Freddy Mercury impression with aplomb.
Elsewhere Set it on Fire largely dispenses with the dark and dirty post punk of The Scientists 1983 original and replaces it with a Mark Arm led noise rock animal which wouldn’t sound out of place on the Amphetamine Reptile roster circa 1990-94. Carpe Diem by The Fugs receives a pretty faithful rendition as does The Pop-O-Pies’ Timothy Leary and Tales of Terror’s Romance. The track Heathen Earth is not so much a cover as an attempt to recreate the style of the band Throbbing Gristle. Here’s what Buzz had to say about it: “Well “Heathen Earth” isn’t a song; it’s my favourite album of theirs. The whole thing is just me. And I had no idea, when I was doing it, what I was gonna do with it. So we said, “This is Throbbing Gristle’s Heathen Earth in the style of what Throbbing Gristle would do.” They would think that was funny. At least I think. Some of them are dead. I don’t know what Genesis P-Orridge thinks about anything, at this point.”
The two centre pieces of the album are the eleven minute long Station to Station originally by Davis Bowie and a nine minute rendition of Roxy Music’s In Every Dream Home a Heartache featuring The Dead Kennedy’s Jello Biafra on the mic. J.G Thirwell joins The Melvins’ version of Station to Station and once the tune gets going they do an excellent job of adding a heavier punkier edge to Bowie’s original while adding a layer of swirling distortion under the main riff to bring the track to a close. Jello Biafra adds his distinctive vocals to Roxy Music’s In Every Dream Home a Heartache. Some liberties have been taken and an extra 4 minutes added onto the original run time. This version sounds far more deranged and sinister than the original and adds a psychedelic, swirling mass of noise over Crover’s drums for the last three minutes before finally bringing an end to an epic collaboration.
If you’re a Melvins fan then you’re sure to love Everybody Loves Sausages. If you’re not a fan then there are better places to become acquainted, 1993’s Houdini is a good entry point, but when you’re converted and working your way through the back catalogue then this album will definitely put a smile on your face. All round a damn fine addition to the Melvins’ discography. 9.2/10
Melvins Lite Tour has just started:
Apr. 23 Tourcoing, France Le Grand Mix
Apr. 24 Brussels, Belgium VK* Concerts
Apr. 25 Haarlem, Netherlands Patronaat
Apr. 26 Cologne, Germany Burgerhaus Stollwerck
Apr. 27 Luxembourg Kulturfabrik
Apr. 28 Schorndorf, Germany Club Manufaktur
Apr. 29 Geneva, Switzerland L’Usine
Apr. 30 Livorno, Italy The Cage
May 1 Milan, Italy Bloom
May 2 Munich, Germany Hansa 39
May 3 Prague, Czech Republic Matrix
May 4 Wroclaw, Poland Asymmetry Festival
May 5 Leipzig, Germany UT Connewitz
May 7 & 8 Berlin, Germany Festsaal Kreuzberg
May 10 & 11 Paris, France Trabendo
May 13 & 14 Vienna, Austria Arena Wien
May 16 & 17 Zurich, Switzerland Rote Fabrik
May 19 & 20 London, UK Electric Brixton
May 25 Baltimore, MD Maryland Deathfest
May 27 Millvale, PA Mr. Small’s Theatre
May 28 Columbus, OH A&R Music Bar
May 29 Cincinnati OH The Ballroom at the Taft Theatre
June 1 Memphis, TN Scion Rock Fest