ALBUM REVIEW: Melvins – Tarantula Heart


One day we pulled the curtains open on a bright, new day and out there on the street we were greeted by Melvins, taking their Tarantula Heart (Ipecac Recordings) procession all the way through the town. Zombie teddy bears and dogs in suits up on their hind legs stepped in time while King Buzzo, Dale Crover, and Steven McDonald lead the way, soon joined by drummer Roy Mayorga and guitarist Gary Chester from the flanks.

The twenty-minute “Pain Equals Funny” movement locked in step. A few minutes in, the band were giving off electric bursts like lightning through their strings. Turning left and right through the streets, Crover and Mayorga threw the beat around, back and forth, keeping the procession on its toes. The sun beating a heavy heat down, the revelers started to space out and feel themselves floating above the road. Soon they came back down in a swooshing maelstrom of flame-licked guitar lines, before ultimately sailing away on a prog trip into the clouds.

Meanwhile, “Working the Ditch” played, dark and thunderous, with surreal menace, as a surly gang, dressed back to front, rang doorbells up and down the street. As the procession marched by, the drums tumbled, as though tripping on the pavement, kept their time and incorporated each fall into the groove.

By the time “She’s Got Weird Arms” was introduced, the whole parade must have eaten some fermented apples, tossed by Primus from a nearby garden. Careening went the procession, still keeping a march, but laughing as their legs turned to jelly, the band playing on, twirling their drumsticks above them.

Dusk had set as “Allergic To Food” played. The cops were across the town, chasing after that gang, who’d been picking pockets all day. With the ruffians leaping fences, the cop car just charged right through garden after garden, laundry lines crashing into the car, blouses and long johns flapping as the guitars formed sirens in the night. Buzzo, a distorted voice on the police radio, called in the report.

As “Smiler” introduced the final scene, it seemed we were all prison bound (and on Halloween, too!), but we took a short cut along the train track, in the banged-up police car. Two blown-out tires, juddered along the tracks, guitar sirens blowing out the back, in clouds of exhaust — a few triumphant blasts into the night, as they carried their cargo to the pokey.

Buzzo was absolutely right. It was a dark time for us.

Buy the album here:
https://themelvins.lnk.to/tarantula

9 / 10
TOM OSMAN