In recent years, the viscosity of the Valvoline that lubricates today's metal machines has been reduced to that of Johnson's baby oil: weak, safe, and not good for much of anything other than rubbing on an infant's butt cheeks. But Hog Molly, whose frontman Tad Doyle is best known for the defunct seminal Seattle band Tad, sticks to a long-standing belief that oil and bong water can mix on Kung-Fu Cocktail Grip. From the opening rumbling bass line to the volley of greasy guitars and jackhammer drums, "Mr. Right" makes it known that, while Tad the band may not be back, the sound that inspired kids across the land to exchange leather for flannel continues. Bringing along long-time friend and producer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney), Kung-Fu Cocktail Grip steers through waist-deep puddles of musical muck one chord at a time, as in the Northwestern crawl of "Hogchronicity" and "Paycheck," and cranks up in tracks like "Bitchslapper" and "Fuck the Red Lights," in which Doyle repeats the title line atop a hail of drive-by drumbeats and crunch.
If it all sounds like Tad to you, you're right. New lineup aside, this could be a continuation of 1995's Infrared Riding Hood. Doyle may not be covering any new ground on Kung-Fu Cocktail Grip, but he has to be given credit for sticking to his guns. "My father taught me how to tell what is wrong and what is right/My father taught me chasing a buck isn't always a noble man's fight," he sings in the opening "Mr. Right." It's a lesson Doyle has learned well, given that, like fellow Seattleites the Melvins, he got slapped in the face by the majors and ultimately dropped. (Coincidentally both later signed to indie labels owned by ex-members of Faith No More).
For people whose experience with grunge consisted of only a mop bucket and the Singles soundtrack, Hog Molly may provide some insight as to what really happened in the Emerald City. It also serves as a reminder that a little sludge in the engine can be a good thing.
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