“DD Review: Dale Crover – The Fickle Finger of Fate.”

Score: 6.5/10


No Wikipedia page yet exists in dedication to the debut solo album of the Melvins drummer, but from the Rolling Stone interview (http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/melvins-drummer-dale-crover-on-his-debut-solo-album-w485159), one can assume with some pomposity that Crover actually plays all the instruments on the album (guitar, bass, sporadic synth and of course drums), somewhat like Stevie Wonder used to do. And indeed, in general, The Fickle Finger of Fate sounds like the work of an excited kid in a candy store with a newfound studio budget, somewhat overly content to belt out median classic rock and (maybe) worrisome of a hitherto unnamed cosmological bodily appendage coming down from the sky and issuing a stem-like warning to him, should he do anything too important or big.
Without any dark, eerie Northwestern shadow of a doubt, Mudhoney is the greatest influence on this project — perhaps even outweighing the Melvins’ sway. Right down to the cheeky, faux-sassy way Crover sings which very much illumines Mark Arm’s skittish yowl, the spirit of that band reigns over these proceedings to an almost oppressive extent, to where you would almost never want to listen to a Mudhoney album directly after this one (I’d personally advise skipping The Fickle Finger of Fate entirely and lustfully digging into the fiery mix of blues-metal and power pop on Mudhoney’s Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge).
Sure, the drum interludes are charming enough, as is the very principle of such things existing in the first place, but even the most successful moments on this album, which are far more textural than they are structural or genre-defining, play sort of like a little kid riding his bike with no hands, after everybody else on the block has already done the exact thing. It’s like, oh, ok Dale. Good job. “Little Brother” starts to riff out with an ALMOST prog panorama of complexity, but the “mathematical” mind of Buzz Osborne, Crover’s (lone) Melvins bandmate, is still sorely lacking here. Indeed, Crover’s tame vocal tone, overly affected in a sort of vaudeville way rather than representing anything cathartic or genuine, will leave you missing Chris Cornell more than ever. The Fickle Finger of Fate does, however, one-up Thurston Moore’s album from this year for its very ability to actually get ON with things, and toggle between songs with an original sequencing strategy — this gaggle of albeit pointless little drum tunes which make an impression for just being different, at least.

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