Top 100 Albums of the Decade: #56 Jello Biafra & The Melvins - Never Breathe What You Can't See
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#56 Jello Biafra and The Melvins - Never Breathe What You Can't See
The demise of The Dead Kennedys came at the hands of a group called the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC). The PMRC, a right wing extremist organization, levied the legal challenges that ultimately bankrupted the band. In an ironic way, it was a fitting, inane punctuation mark at the end of the sentence started by the gender-bending New York Dolls in the early '70s.
Punk has been "over" for almost 30 years now, though, the genre continues to morph on in the mainstream through various "post" and "post-post" phases of anesthetized suburban punk. In this environment Jello Biafra's label, Alternative Tentacles, has continued to release quality work (though much of it remains political polemics and spoken word treatise rather than music). Jello Biafra and The Melvins - Never Breathe What You Can't See, thus came as a surprise because - really - it is a fresh, rich, and nuance approach to beating a dead horse (no pun intended).
Jello is at his best here, creating a complex wall of vocal inflections that do for punk what Run DMC did for hard rock back in the mid 80s. Biafra delivers lyrically as well. Bitingly sarcastic, he claims that Mohamed Atta and John Ashcroft helped him scribe "Caped Crusader". The song was constructed to deftly blur the differences between the two radicals.
This is the Dead Kennedys album we hoped for in many ways, albeit sans some of the more catchy stylings of a Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. However, I'm going to say it, the Melvins are a tighter and ultimately a better band (death threats to deaththreats@betterPropaganda.com).
Check back tomorrow for the next album! To see the full list of the Top 100 Albums of the Decade, click here.