Review: Bellringer – “Stumble Bum/Triangular Object”

No matter how much he loathes it, Texan and musical-firebrand Mark Deutrom forever might be inextricably linked with Melvins, the legendary Gods-of-Thunder quartet whose debut he released on Alchemy 30-odd years ago and, more importantly, for whom he played a mean bass during a good chunk of the 1990s.

But the Deutrom story did not end when he left Melvins circa Honky – no further evidence is needed than his current band, Bellringer, which released a new, one-song single a few days ago, in the egg-still-on-ear moments of the new year.

The song, titled “Stumble Bum/Triangular Object,” centers around something very non-Melvins, an almost jazz-pop lurch with off-kilter drums and a hummable, two-part melody. But, as on Bellringers’ Jettison LP, that’s just a point of departure. Deutrom, who wrote and produced the piece, is not interested in conventional time, and he darts from one suite to the next with a seeming disregard for transition. It suits drummer R.L. Hulsman, with their rubbery angularities, well and gives the track a weird dimension that’s inviting – listen to the psych-trance guitars over buzzing bass in one section, get hooked by the bass-drum lurch elsewhere. Deutrom’s got the right prescription.

All of this continues to beg the question, though: how many times do we need to write about Deutrom, Bellringer and the solo efforts – which have a pretty rich biography of their own – before we drop the Melvins footnotes? I, for one, like the context but, with tracks like this, Deutrom continues to craft his own epic narratives. – Justin Vellucci, Popdose, Jan. 9, 2018


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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