Mudhoney does grunge right, again

Mudhoney was one of the first grunge bands and is still one of the best. Stripped of the bombast of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, and more durable than Nirvana and Alice in Chains, Mudhoney has just the right balance of self-loathing, fun and sludge. And, so, it’s no surprise that their ninth album, “Vanishing Point,” is very good. The group’s last album, “The Lucky Ones,” was the best post-grunge album (by a real grunge band) to date and the quality of this follow-up makes me hope that Mudhoney will stay together for a long time.

There’s no doubt that the best song on the CD is the punk blast “Chardonnay”, which is a comedic rant about why singer Mark Arm hates the white wine. It includes lyrics like, “You’re the soccer mom’s favorite sipper/ But I can’t think of nothing sicker/ Get the f*** out of my backstage/ I hate you Chardonnay.” It seems to come from a sincere hatred for the drink and sounds like something The Cramps could have written.

Other fun songs include “I Like it Small”, which appears to be about many things, including liking “dingy basements” more than stadiums, along with “I Don’t Remember You”, another rant. The topic this time is rock ‘n’ roll wannabes who approach Arm randomly and mention one night they hung out 20 years ago. This song includes one of the most inspired moments on the CD, when the music breaks down and Arm says, “Excuse me … while I fill this cart,” referencing Jimi Hendrix with the banal flair of Seinfeld.

DOWNLOAD NOW: “Chardonnay.”