When I think of Melvins, I don't think of them as a band so much as a rock music institution that influenced countless groups, many of which became much more famous than they ever did. Melvins are far from unknown, but they've always dwelled at the fringes of the mainstream, and their impact on modern music is completely disproportionate to their fame. However, they do get the respect they deserve from those in the know, and the fact that they keep putting out well-received albums means they are still relevant.
The albums Houdini, Stoner Witch, Bullhead, and Lysol are usually the first that come to mind when one thinks of the group. This golden Melvins era lasted from 1991 to 1994, a time when their particular sound was being developed and refined. Before Bullhead, there was Ozma, and before that was their first full-length album, Gluey Porch Treatments.
The songs on their first album are instantly recognizable as Melvins songs, but that doesn't mean it contains their best work. Rather, Gluey Porch Treatments served as the foundation on which the band built the rest of their body of work. It's a very basic version of the stuff Melvins became known for: thrash metal slowed to a crawl and a punk rock disregard towards making their music accessible. It's rougher-sounding than most of their albums, and King Buzzo's vocals sound a bit like Jello Biafra's (who would actually tour and record with Melvins in later years), with his wild wavering pitch diving up and down. He sounds angrier than usual, as if back in 1987 they took their heavy, unfriendly music seriously.
The biggest issue with this early release is the similarity between songs. The album isn't especially varied, and with 17 tracks that can be a problem. (Actually, the album may look long, but with 6 tracks each shorter than a minute, the whole thing adds up to only 38 minutes, which is around average.) There are a couple great ones, but they don't stand out well enough because they're surrounded by two or three tracks that don't sound that much different. The longer songs are the more memorable ones: "Eye Flys", "Leeech", "Heaviness of the Load", "Over from Under the Excrement". Predictably, everything that is done right on these few songs is done better in later years, which is ultimately a good thing.
1. Eye Flys (6:16)
2. Echo Head/Don't Piece Me (2:51)
3. Heater Moves and Eyes (3:52)
4. Steve Instant Neuman (1:31)
5. Influence of Atmosphere (1:51)
6. Exact Paperbacks (0:43)
7. Happy Grey or Black (2:01)
8. Leeech (2:32)
9. Glow God (0:51)
10. Big As a Mountain (0:57)
11. Heaviness of the Load (3:06)
12. Flex with You (0:54)
13. Bitten Into Sympathy (1:45)
14. Gluey Porch Treatments (0:48)
15. Clipping Roses (0:49)
16. As It Was (2:51)
17. Over from Under the Excrement (4:39)
Melvins is a long-lived band who still haven't exhausted their creativity, and their catalog is filled with great examples of why they are still around and still popular. Gluey Porch Treatments is pretty good when examined in retrospect, but it isn't an appropriate place to start with the group if you're looking to understand just what made them so legendary. This is where the Melvins sound was born, but it wouldn't reach its full potential until 1991's Bullhead, after which it would veer off in multiple directions; some good, some bad.
Gluey Porch Treatments was re-released on Ipecac in 1999, with 11 bonus tracks, all demos of the orginal album songs. Two of the shorter tracks were combined into one, and the other five that weren't included were "Steve Instant Neuman", "Influence of Atmosphere", "Leeech", "As It Was", and "Over from Under the Excrement".
Gluey Porch Treatments - Melvins - 1987 - Alchemy Records