Mudhoney – Under A Billion Suns

Music Reviews Mudhoney
Mudhoney – Under A Billion Suns

Angry aging rockers wanted for music-and-thought crimes

Special agent Foster adjusted his govt.-issue shades and scribbled thoughtfully in his notebook: Bone-rattling, darker-than-Sabbath, minor-key riff metal. Eastern flourishes. Explosive horn section. Three producers, yet sound remains seamless. Rowdy, Chuck-Berry-through-the-meat-grinder double-stop guitar bends. Venomous lyrics delivered with old-school garage-punk sneer. Hmmm. The clues at the crime scene all pointed to a notorious gang of Seattle ear-drum-rape veterans. Mudhoney. They were back, stirring up trouble as usual. But it wasn’t just noise violations and general lewd behavior this time. Nor was it just knee-jerk social commentary; it was abrasive, apocalyptic rock played by a bunch of Americans both pissed and scared shitless about terrorism, U.S. foreign policy and an unstable world—rock that’s bleak, violent sound aptly soundtracked the kidnappings and roadside bombs taking down soldiers, journalists and civilians in Iraq with such alarming frequency. But suddenly, mid-album, an absurd guitar figure—with a melody approximating Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music”—erupts, and so does a little bit of that oh-well-we’re-all-FUBAR-anyway, grinning-and-shrugging Zen-tinged Mudhoney nihilism, because sometimes the only way to keep your wits is to laugh in the face of impending doom. A song called “Hard-on for War?” Agent Foster could only shake his head.

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