Sub Pop - 2002 - 46 minutes

It's the richest of ironies. As the White Stripes, The Hives and the Vines go global, Mudhoney, a band they all owe something to either in style or sentiment, release their comeback album.

13 years ago they were the first Seattle band to break through: three years before 'Nevermind' there were magazines covers and powered up classics like 'You Got It (Keep it Outta My Face)' and 'Touch Me I'm Sick'. But their star nver shone as bright as Nirvana's and while they got the major label deal none of the records that follow came close to the atmosphere of songs they did on their hometown imprint Sub Pop. They're back on them now, it's four years since their last album and you wonder is it a case of nostalgia or winning back last ground.

The drone of opener 'Baby, Can You Dig the Light' shows they've just returned to do what they do: no nonsense, from the gut rock with singer Mark Arm still locked in that battle between oxygen supply and lyrics. Recording each song in a day, the sole concession to progress is a horn section which just adds more roughness to the tracks.

Fans will hail it as an album to wear out but for the curious, this isn't the best place to start: buy the early Sub Pop stuff, jump forward to now and then work your way to the middle. And be prepared for grinds in air guitar along the way.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Baby, Can You Dig the Light - The Straight Life - Where the Flavor Is - In the Winner's Circle - Our Time is Now - Dyin' for It - Inside Job - Take It like a Man - Crooked and Wide - Sonic Infusion