Sound — 9
Mudhoney's first full-length album released on Sub Pop records wasn't quite as monumental or even as grimy-sounding as the paradigmatic Superfuzz Bigmuff, but this record certainly represents the traditional Mudhoney sound. The usual fare is present, songs about drugs (Runnings Loaded), songs about the women (Here Comes Sickness), and straight up grunge (Flat Out F*cked). This album was released after two previous singles that showed the band's sound coming together and this album slightly cleans up the fuzz and grime for a wider audience while keeping the perfect amount of dirt and angst between the grooves. Steve Turner and Mark Arm's guitar skills are above-par and more noticeable than most grunge bands of the era despite the combination of speed, fuzz, and mediocre production quality. But that's all part of the draw of the album. Thanks to Conrad Uno and Jack Endino there is plenty of crunch and it all adds to the atmosphere.
Lyrics — 8
Mudhoney isn't noted for their lyrical prowess, but rather they are frequently commended for their excellent ability to capture that neanderthal style. They don't get too deep or existential but they reach their basic emotions and they squeeze the hell out of them. When Mark Arm gets mad, you can be sure he'll write a scathing song about how much of a bitch you were being. They find inspiration in universal feelings, things that everyone experiences at some point in their life, not a rare thing like love or being successful. The lyrics are primal in nature, as is Arm's vocal delivery. They are easily related to, something all bands should take note. Arm has one of the most easily recognizable voices in the Seattle scene. His voice adds so much to the atmosphere of the songs that if someone else came along and sang, they wouldn't have even achieved the moderate success they have today. It wouldn't be Mudhoney withou Arm.
Overall Impression — 10
The album is powerful, raunchy, and a definite must-buy for any fans of the genre. It isn't the best they have done (that dubious honor held by Superfuzz), but certainly number 2 on the list. It may not be the best but it's the textbook definition of the "Seattle Sound". As far as I am concerned, it's one of the greatest albums of the scene. I love pretty much everything about the album, and the only thing that I could consider myself even sort of disliking would be the lyrics. Not the delivery, I love that, but the songwriting skill is lacking. But then again, that's not what I bought the CD for. I wanted some straight-outta-hell audio grime and that's exactly what I got. I would have made sure not to rip this CD onto my computer so that if it did get stolen, I'd have an excuse to go on another Mudhoney binge and maybe even buy 5 copies of this album. For kicks.