Reviewer Spotlight: The Melvins – Gluey Porch Treatments

Originally published in Punk Planet March/April 2007

I was, admittedly, in grade school in 1986 when Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Matt Lukin drove from Washington to California to record their first full-length record.

By the time I did hear it, some five or six years later, the group was being courted by the majors (thank you, Kurt Cobain) but Gluey Porch Treatments had not achieved the sacred status of a founding document. Instead, it languished in bizarre anonymity at the end of a Boner Records pressing of 1989’s Ozma.

Though Ipecac has since championed The Melvins’ early work, Gluey Porch Treatments still doesn’t get the respect it’s due. Why?

Well, you could chalk it up, some might argue, to the fact that few of these songs ever surface at live shows (“I couldn’t tell you what’s even on this thing if I had a gun to my head,” Osborne wrote in the 1999 reissue.)

The record, though, introduces listeners to parts of why The Melvins’ two-decade run has been worth following. There’s the menacing lurch of “Eye Flys,” the stop-and-start wallop of “Echo Head/Don’t Piece Me” and “Flex With You,” sludgy punk-metal hybrids like “Big as a Mountain.” “Exact Paperbacks,” a precursor to “Honey Bucket,” could have served as a grunge template back in the day.

Even songs whose running time doesn’t break 60 seconds – the classic title track or the blistering “Glow God” – are tough to shake from memory. So, why try to forget?

And ever the infinite loop: Tom Waits, Orphans; Lesser Birds of Paradise, Space Between; Calexico, The Black Light; Do Make Say Think, Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn; Vexed, The Good Fight.

About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.

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