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June 23, 2024

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Jello Biafra and the Melvins
Never Breathe What You Can't See (Alternative Tentacles)

By: Jeb Branin

You could burn some valuable brain cells trying to think of a better musical merger than JELLO BIAFRA and the MELVINS, but why would you? It would be the definition of "an effort in futility." The Jello Biafra and the Melvins collaboration... this is quite literally a punk rock tour de force.

In fact, this is so good and in so many ways that I will be hard pressed to enumerate them all in one short review, but I'll try.

Musically THE MELVINS are at the top of their game. No noise-drenched experimentation here, just cranked, cruising, and crushing punk rock 'n roll. THE MELVINS do a fan-damn-tastic job of providing a musical playground for Jello's wit 'n whine without relegating themselves to the role of being mere support players. This is 110% MELVINS but still somehow sounds 110% DEAD KENNEDYS.

Maybe the fact Jello wrote or co-wrote the entire album has a bit to do with that? The music on this album sounds like it could have come one year after Bedtime For Democracy rather than eighteen years after. I daresay this sounds more DK than the current Jello-less touring version of the band (pseudo band?).

Jello takes the thunderous reverberation being laid down by the MELVINS and completely harnesses it. Jello hasn't been this, well, JELLO FREAKIN' BIAFRA since the heyday of the DEAD KENNEDYS (not even with the stellar NO WTO COMBO one-off project).

His sardonic humor is at its ever-loving best on this CD. His acid tongue burns holes in everything from the conventional wisdom on terrorism to questionable medical ethics to religious fanaticism to SUVs. Yes, unadulterated "anti-everything" raging has lost its potency and its ability to promote thought thanks to the never-ending blather of the internet, but Jello is still a great listen.

Any Jello fan need merely see song titles like "McGruff the Crime Dog", "The Lighter Side of Global Terrorism", "Yuppie Cadillac", and "Dawn of the Locusts" to know they are in for classic Jello-isms.

This CD was destined to be a classic the minute it was conceived but it is even better than expectations.

It is colossal. You may think I'm over-hyping this, but just go buy it and you'll see it would be impossible to over-hype. It's that good.

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