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Articles and Reviews: MUSIC

From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah
By Nirvana

17 tracks culled from live performances as far apart in time as December 1989 and January 1994, and in space as Rome and San Diego, From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah is the new electric no-holes-barred counterpart to the quieter tones of Unplugged In New York, which was released in 1994 after mainman Kurt Cobain had ‘joined that stupid club’, as his mother so eloquently put it. Apparently the remaining band members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl found it too perturbing to edit the material until recently, given their lingering trauma at the manner of Cobain’s demise.

 

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So are Geffen flogging a dead horse, cashing in on the fact that you can’t put your arms around a memory, and on the mythology which has built up around this disturbed young man since his suicide? The answer is no. Nirvana were a great band at what they did, Cobain a songwriter of considerable inventiveness. For confirmed fan and casual observer alike, it is nice to have a record of the more raucous extremes of their live shows. From ‘Spank Thru’, their first song, to ‘Heart-Shaped Box’, the last single, from the catchy and familiar ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, to the Beefheartian and convoluted ‘Milk It’, this album is a primal scream from throat and fretboard.


Of course it is tempting to speculate about how they would have progressed if tragedy had not intervened, but it is both easy and futile to play the game of ‘What if..?’ Nirvana made music your parents wouldn’t like, and so satisfied one of the chief criteria of a successful rock band.

First published in 46A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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