A blast from the past
Melvins 1983 return with a 13-track album named Working With God, which features fresh Melvins takes on the work of The Beach Boys and The Spaniels, among other tracks. The band, composed of Buzz Osborne (King Buzzo), Dale Crover and the Melvins’ original drummer, Mike Dillard, has clearly made an effort to return to their punk and grunge roots. The Melvins 1983 is the two main members of The Melvins (Osborne, Crover) alongside Mike Dillard, the original drummer from their 1983 lineup. Initially, Melvins 1983 was created as a throwback to the 1983 lineup of The Melvins, but has since become a different identity from the main band. While Crover wasn’t part of the 1983 lineup, he is the current drummer of The Melvins, who switches to bass for this version of the band (Melvins 1983).
The band explores a humorous side throughout the album, often fooling around with light-hearted lyrics and performing a wide variety of musical genres of which they’ve been influenced throughout their career. The tracks range from classic rock to sludge mental, all the way to experimental and punk. The album in its entirety is bound to provoke many clashing emotions, as some tracks appear almost frivolous while others feature extreme sub-genre sidetracks into doom metal. It’s a wide array of sounds to say the least.
The album begins with a reimagining of The Beach Boys’ “I Get Around,” retitled, “I Fuck Around,” by the Melvins. The cover mimics The Beach Boys’ famed vocal harmonies, but nearly every lyric is replaced with the word “fuck,” in what is the first example of the Melvins’ proclivity for jokes. Though the track consists of juvenile humor, it is a very energetic cover that captures the listener with a groovy rhythm. It could easily be the technically sound punchline in an episode of Family Guy.
The album then heads full-steam-ahead into some doom metal tracks. “Negative No No” and “Caddy Daddy” remain at a much slower tempo and utilize heavy electric guitars that clash with the playful opening track. The electric guitars and sluggish vocals invoke a sense of dread, something more in line with the Melvins’ usual style.
Working With God also includes the song “Hot Fish,” a collaboration between the Melvins and Flipper. The track was a huge success when it was originally released on an EP back in 2019. It still maintains its sludge metal and noise rock abrasiveness, particularly in Osborne’s rough vocals. He later flexes his versatility outside of the Melvins’ typical metal style on “1 Fuck You,” an impressive turn into ’50s doo-wop and pop as a tribute to Harry Nilsson’s “You’re Breakin’ My Heart.” While the track absolutely feels like nothing else on the project, it still manages to keep up with the exciting atmosphere introduced on the opening track.
The album closes with a cover of The Spaniels’ “Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight,” where the band performs a thorough acoustic rework of the song. The band opts for a more demonic sound, a complete opposite of the original’s angelic and much more overtly beautiful sound.
Melvins 1983 offers tribute to The Spaniels, The Beach Boys, and their influences as a whole on their latest album Working With God. The album carries a variety of hard-hitting tracks that fall into the band’s most beloved genre, doom metal, and are certain to satisfy long-time fans. Though it can be great to hear the band’s personality come through on this project, their humorous side definitely clashes with their avowed commitment to sludge metal. Who knows—maybe their next album will bridge this gap, and the Melvins will create an amazing new sub-genre of comedic metal.