Truth be told, it’s that same kind of influence that has allowed his band to remain culturally relevant nearly 20 years after their highest-profile champion, Kurt Cobain, left this earth; the Nirvana frontman was so enamored with the Melvins’ monstrous, sludgy riffs and don’t-give-a-shit attitude that he briefly worked as a roadie for his fellow Aberdeen, Wash.-bred punks.
Sausages opens with an appropriately menacing take on Venom’s “Warhead,” rendered in a style that’s long been the Melvins’ stock in trade: huge, Sabbath-esque guitar riffage; Osborne’s growled vocals; and drummer Dale Crover’s straightforward pounding.
Then the first curveball: a jaunty, keyboard-laden version of Queen’s “(You’re My) Best Friend,” which just might be the most approachable song the Melvins have ever recorded.
Equally curious is “Female Trouble,” originally sung by Divine in John Waters’ movie of the same name, in which Osborne sounds like Tom Waits before his voice turned to gravel filtered through 40 years of cigarettes and booze.The best offering on Sausages — which also includes takes on songs by Roxy Music, Throbbing Gristle, The Jam and David Bowie — comes in the form of a lacerating version of The Kinks’ “Attitude,” which could stand in for the Melvins’ reason for being: “It’s not your makeup or the way that you dress/It’s your attitude!”
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