Album Review: Mudhoney - Vanishing Point

15 May 2013 | 8:28 am | Paul Barbieri

It’s clear Vanishing Point doesn’t take itself too seriously and despite hitting their 50s, Mudhoney are seriously enjoying themselves.

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Every now and then the pretenders out there need a big slap in the face and it doesn't come much bigger than Mudhoney on ninth studio album Vanishing Point. The title hints at a band looking to call it a day, while the cover shows off images of ancient ruins in decay. But far from this being a retirement package, the four-piece let rip with one ferocious rallying cry standing up for the little guy while cynically attacking wannabes with tracks like Douchebags On Parade and Chardonnay. It's been 24 years since the band helped kick-start grunge – a movement that produced its own fair share of wannabes – but nothing much has changed for Mudhoney. The recording may be crisper and their playing is seriously tight but at the end of the day these songs could have come straight from the '90s and far out, don't they sound good for it.

Opening with Slipping Away, the band immediately find their groove, with Guy Maddison's bass winding itself around Dan Peters' drums as Steve Turner's sinuous guitar lines slink along the top. Vocalist Mark Arm delivers the album's biggest chorus on I Like It Small, declaring with a smutty wink that music isn't all about marketing and profile with lines like, “I've got big enough balls, to admit I like it small”. It's clear Vanishing Point doesn't take itself too seriously and despite hitting their 50s, Mudhoney are seriously enjoying themselves as they rip through the aforementioned Chardonnay and I Don't Remember You, although Sing This Song Of Joy is quieter and more reflective. And they don't pull any punches with Douchebags On Parade as this blast from the past ends on a big high.