It’s not that Pinkus Abortion Technician, out Friday on Ipecac, lacks ideas. For the first time, the band appears with two bassists and, while the concept is interesting – “It could be an acid-trip metal version of Tortoise!” – the muddy mix and lack of sonic depth on most of the songs make it feel gimmicky. The respective talents of Redd Kross’ Steve McDonald and Butthole Surfers’ Jeff Pinkus, bottom enders who both have taken turns as Melvins “members,” are lost on listeners here.
Again, it’s not for lack of ideas. “Embrace The Rub” goes for lo-fi punk thrills; “Don’t Forget To Breathe” toys with the loose-limbed rubbery-ness of Melvins Lite’s bassist Trevor Dunn; hell, the dirgy “Prenup Butter” and “Flamboyant Duck,” for some reason, lead with acoustic guitars. But, for all the experiments, and these clearly are attempts to put some spin on Melvins’ formula fastball with Butthole Surfer-isms, the group comes up short. On the Butthole Surfers’ cover “Graveyard,” one of several points of Butthole Surfers departure, the guitars burn but Crover’s drums are buried deep in the muck and mire of it all.
Even a cover – the record is nearly half covers – of The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” a live staple, doesn’t really do much to live up to Melvins standards, despite a spirited and noisy departure at the close. If Melvins wanted to make a Butthole Surfers record with Pinkus Abortion Technician, and that sometimes seems the point of it all, their imitation of the process sadly failed.
It doesn’t merit more words to dive into the details of the crash: if you’re not a Melvins completist, look elsewhere.