Buzz Osborne This Machine


At this point in their careers, The Melvins can basically do whatever they want and people will go with it. But even as an ardent fan of many “terrible” ideas the band has followed through on, I had my doubts that King Buzzo’s acoustic debut would be worth listening to more than once. I was wrong, but This Machine feels more like a Melvins demo tape than a bonafide acoustic album (enough so that I expect most of these songs will appear in Melvins set lists).

You’ll notice, within the first five medium-fidelity seconds, that Osborne writes songs for a metal band. “Dark Brown Teeth” begins with surprisingly chipper hammer-ons, proceeds into a pentatonic toss-up and drops the listener into a sinister, reverb-laden vocal melody. “Vaulting Over a Microphone” follows a similar formula and “Laid Back Walking” veers closer to sludge but still has a recognizable melody. Buzzing frets substitute cranked amps, there are no drums to speak of and Osborne never really roars like he does in The Melvins and, in spite of that, he has an unmistakable sonic footprint. You’ve got to respect the man’s integrity, but this won’t exactly shed new light on his abilities as a songwriter.

By John Julius

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