It's 2002, what's a former Grunge band to do? In Mudhoney's case, it's to take all of the things that made you great the first time around, refine them, and make the record of your career. Luckily, people will actually listen to the music. I have this distinct feeling that nobody actually listened to grunge back then; it was all an image, not substance, and that the movement was nothing more than a ploy that resulted only in the dictatorial griphold of Starbucks. I mean, if people actually HAD cared about the music, you'd see teenagers right now wearing leather jackets with logos for Green River, Tad, and Gas Huffer, and My Sisters Machine and Janitor Joe would be treated with the same reverence as The Beatles, Sex Pistols, or Rolling Stones.
But for Mudhoney? Talk about a comeback! This is easily their best record to date--though that's not hard for them to do, considering that one or two of their albums were utter crap. It's also a nice breath of fresh air in a stagnent "rock" world. Always smarter than they were given credit for, Since We've Become Translucent breaks that dumb image. Then again, you can get away with a lot more shit if you're considered dumb, and I think that they were aware of that--though it didn't particularly help them the first time around. As their greatest hits and rarities collection March to Fuzz demonstrated, there's always been greatness in there, even if it was obscured by all the hair.
Kicking off with "Baby, Can You Dig the Light," you're shocked at how...different..things sound. Maybe it's the saxophone. This eight-minute jam fuses free-noise, psych-rock, space-rock, and straight up rock and/or roll together into a most enjoyable meal. A shock? Yeah. A surprise? Not really. Just a band gettin' more in touch with their roots. When you reach "Where the Flavor Is," try not to be too shocked by the addition of a full-on horn section. Yeah--shocked me too! Same with "Take it Like A Man," too--and you can't help but realize that these guys were always a great rock band; you'd have to be damn good to have the strong chops they do, and it certainly shows. The rest of Since We've Become Translucent is rock, nothing too terribly shocking, but nothing at all bad.
Screw those "Rock" bands out there today, Mudhoney are, were, and evermore shall be a great rock band. I wonder if such a great record would have been possible had they not split up when Matt Lukin left, but I really doubt it. Since We've Become Translucent is the sound of a band that left a tired genre, relaxed a little bit, spent some of that big label money, and came back to the game feeling good, slimmed down, buffed up, and ready to kick ass. They've done it, too. Welcome back, Mudhoney. Long may you rock!