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Mudhoney: Tomorrow Hit Today



Album: Tomorrow Hit Today
Label: Reprise

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Nirvana be damned, it's a mistake to think that grunge music really made a commercial breakthrough. From Aberdeen's finest to Soundgarden to Pearl Jam, Seattle's rock bands rarely made it to the mainstream without abandoning their dark roots. There's a reason it wasn't Bleach that made Nirvana huge, and that reason is grunge, that certain scum-rock quality drawn from the legacy of The Stooges and Black Sabbath. Critically acclaimed bands like Melvins and Mudhoney (like Pearl Jam, a product of the seminal band Green River, though the two groups couldn't be more different) never made it to the masses, simply because they refused to streamline their sound. Now that the Seattle signing spree is over, true grunge practitioners like Mudhoney can crawl back out of the bomb shelter and reclaim what's theirs. The group's timing couldn't be better, either: If someone had packaged Tomorrow Hit Today with the recent Nuggets box set, few people might have noticed, as Mudhoney perfectly channels the sloppy garage playing and trashy songs of that era. Part of the record's excellence can be credited to the studio talents of legendary Memphis producer Jim Dickinson, who makes the record sound like a relic from another time, be it 1987 or 1967. But most of the album's power lies in the microphone mangling of singer Mark Arm and the band's sonic sludge, which sounds as potent as the group's initial Sub Pop salvo, "Touch Me I'm Sick." Ultimately, reckless songs like "Try To Be Kind" and "This Is The Life" serve as a keen reminder of the dangers of hype, and how the best rock 'n' roll resurfaces when people either a) stop listening or b) give up entirely. Tomorrow Hit Today is as good an excuse as any to throw away your earplugs and turn it up.