Vanishing Point

Sub Pop (2013) Kevin Fitzpatrick

Mudhoney – Vanishing Point cover artwork
Mudhoney – Vanishing Point — Sub Pop, 2013

25 years later, Mudhoney still know how to kick out the jams. Drummer Dan Peters gets the festivities started with a drum-roll, no less and is shortly joined by bassist Guy Maddison and guitarist Steve Turner for "Slipping Away" - a burner of an opener and the perfect song to remind us just how cool these cats are. Let's talk about Mark Arm for a minute. The man still, after all these years has an Iggy-like sensual danger to his delivery that you just don't hear anymore. Mark Arm remains the only, and I mean ONLY singer that can still get away with howling lyrics like "Baby baby, oh baby, yeah!"

In print, of course, these lyrics sound disgustingly superficial but taken in context, worthy of attention.
Arm has come into his own as a songwriter more with each year that passes. There was always glimpses of this in the early years on songs like "Blinding Sun" or "If I Think" but the real shift in the lyrical dynamic came with the 1998 album Tomorrow Hit Today, an album rife with some of the best lyrics Arm had ever penned.

That's not to say that Vanishing Point is just more of the same, mind you. Sure, it's unmistakably Mudhoney from top-to-bottom, but they still throw in a few surprises. "What To Do With The Neutral" is arguably the most groove-oriented tune in the band's lengthy catalog with Arm doing what appears to be the best/worst Lou Reed impression ever.

There's everything you would come to expect on Vanishing Point and a few things you wouldn't. The tempos are faster on Vanishing Point thus giving the band an angry immediacy. With album closer "Douchebags on Parade", Arm spits out venom and vitriol unheard since 1995's "Into Your Shtik", and Turner's playing on tracks like "The Only Son of the Window of Nain" sound downright vicious. 

You see, Mudhoney never left. They didn't break up. They didn't overdose. They didn't burn out or fade away. They were there to set the scene, they were there to drive the scene and they were the last band standing in the ashes of the scene after it was raped, pillaged, cannibalized and burnt to the ground. They have never received credit. They have never received thanks. They have never received a key to the city, a plaque or a basket of mini-muffins, yet they are owed all these things. Vanishing Point, the group's first studio effort in five long, lonely years is every reason why we should feel like the filthy little ingrates we are. Lucky for us, Mudhoney are benevolent folk, gracious and true. And after 25 years, they continue to provide the listener with solid evidence that they can still rock our genitals.

Mudhoney – Vanishing Point cover artwork
Mudhoney – Vanishing Point — Sub Pop, 2013

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