August 23, 2018

Mudhoney - Under a Billion Suns (2006)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Rock
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© 2006 Sub Pop
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming
Did anyone ever attribute much of a social conscience to Mudhoney back in the day when they were "The Guys Who Built Grunge"? All these years later, their outrage at the state of the world around them has finally reared its head on their seventh studio album, Under a Billion Suns. Don't worry, Mudhoney have not gotten goopy or sensitive, they've just found new things to snarl about that have a greater degree of political significance -- "Hard-On for War" is a rude but emphatic number in which you learn why "horny old men are always eager for war." The current era of conspicuous consumption goes under the knife in "Empty Shells"; "Where Is the Future" rails against the empty accomplishments of the 20th century, and "It Is Us" reminds all of who is really to blame. But while Mudhoney might be more eager to man the barricades in the era of Dubyah and Iraq, they thankfully don't sound a whole lot different than they did in their salad days -- in fact, Under a Billion Suns is one of the hardest and tightest albums this band has ever made. While there's just enough slop to assure you this is Mudhoney, and Steve Turner still has his collection of distortion pedals in good repair, drummer Dan Peters and semi-new bassist Guy Maddison have given these sessions a rock-solid backbone that has just the right amount of give but also pummels with impressive force, while Turner and Mark Arm lock their guitars with a precision they've rarely mustered in the past. Arm is also wailing like a guy half his age on vocals, and the horn section (arranged by Craig Flory) kicks the songs forward without getting in the way. The closing freak-out on "Blindspots" recalls the noise-damaged finales of the Stooges' Fun House and the MC5's High Time. In short, Mudhoney are rocking as well as they ever have on Under a Billion Suns, and have something to say while they're doing it -- could it be they're (gulp) maturing?

tags: mudhoney, under a billion suns, 2006, flac,

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