Mudhoney, who like Seattle scene cohorts Tad, the Melvins, and Screaming Trees looked out from the Baccanal stage in 1992 to a million eyeballs checking out its brand of boot, returns with the aptly titled Since We've Become Translucent, the seminal Sub Pop band's first new LP since 1998's Tomorrow Hit Today. Translucent is Mudhoney's distinctive punk/metal gallop across snare and string, with horn arrangements serving as a fresh punctuation. "Baby, Can You Dig the Light" is the soundtrack to a seventh-grade solar system film: A fluttering guitar drones as the Styrofoam earth orbits, a time signature is uncovered, the loping bassline and universe taking shape. A rowdy French New Wave spy nightmare, "Where The Flavor Is" is swelling brass and woodwinds, lyrically showcasing why this was the Seattle band you didn't need Alprazolam to ease into: "You taste great with or without fruit." The relentless honk and jam of "Take It Like A Man" struts from plunky rockabilly into a punchy chorale. Mark Arm's lemon of a voice -- wavering on key, Black Flag conviction, an irate parrot in the upper register -- accents the clumsy, acidic lyrics, consistently akin to his 1987 decree of "fuck me, I'm sick."
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