Sound — 7
With more than three decades and nearly two dozen studio albums under their belt, the Melvins are easily one of the more active collectives in their genre; that is, if you can accurately pinpoint the band's approach, which regularly implements a broadened compilation of musical influences and, in recent years, frequent collaborations with similarly oriented artists. When it comes down to their newly released pressing "Hold It In," it's no exception in regards to both the group's stylistic concerns and active interest in working with other musicians who fall under the "experimental rock" banner. This album features members of Butthole Surfers, namely guitarist Paul Leary and bassist JD Pinkus, who alongside King Buzzo, the longtime frontman for the Melvins, all alternate lead vocal duties throughout the effort.
While it's safe to say that longtime listeners of the Melvins are well acquainted with an unusually varietal slathering of material on their new releases, "Hold It In" earns a title entirely different than it's predecessors within the band's catalog. The only recurring quality to this effort is the frequent use of overtly harmonic group vocals, which dominate the majority of the album's choruses; we're caught alongside the members of the band as we alternate from the swampy garage rock overtones of "Eyes on You" through new wave influences ala The Cars on "Brass Cupcake," the latter of which stands as one of the more attention capturing tracks in regards to lyrical content on the effort, and while this portion is usually addressed in the following segment, we're tackling this subject here.
Just as we're getting caught amongst the chord progressions to the aforementioned "Brass Cupcake," Buzzo snatches the listener from this sonic spell with his characteristically cheesy lyrics. "Because they've got a lot of mouths to feed! And their noses and their mouths will bleed!" he confidently declares, as the instrumental side of the lineup develops a concrete establishment for him to weigh his speech upon. Such similarly directed numbers as "Barcelonian Horseshoe Pit," "Onions Make the Milk Taste Bad" and "P-ss P-sstopherson" gallivant some alternatively creative phraseology, however this hardly overwhelms the remainder of the performance; perhaps this can be accredited to the way the album was intentionally produced, but unless you keep an attentive ear out in order to riddle past the conclaves of natural guitar harmonics, slamming percussion, prominent group vocal melodies and the angst-fueled lyrical delivery, it's hardly any matter of deterring importance here, especially for diehard fans.
Lyrics — 8
Having three different lead singers on one studio collaboration is something few alternative rock bands (if you choose to categorize the Melvins as such) would attempt, which probably gave this group even more incentive to do so. Grantedly, each voice which mains the main microphone on here has their identifiable approach, yet it doesn't drown out the end product. Paul Leary wields a far more harmony-focused persona geared towards high pitched vocals, as we find on "Eyes on You." In contrast, JD Pinkus exclaims his lyrics with an dangerous passion, which solidly opens up the album on "Bride of Crankenstein." Then we have Buzzo, which in a way falls in between the two previously described vocalists, perhaps taking the emotional drive of Pinkus with the higher range of Leary.
Overall Impression — 7
In short, the Melvins pull off an impressionable collaboration effort on their new studio album, "Hold It In." Introducing two members from the Butthole Surfers lineup proved to be a beneficial decision on their part, and the group manages to pull off having three singers with entirely different personas coexist on the same record, actively distributing the role as frontman throughout the entire effort.