The Melvins’ “Nude with Boots” is a very literal DOA. In my mind, The Melvins surpassed the necessity to make new albums almost a decade ago. They long ago developed a strong catalog of music within their own distinct sludge sound that still makes live show-going very worthwhile. And Nude With Boots is not entirely lacking in some drippy, exciting moments: the digitally processed King Buzzo harmonies are dirty and relentless; Dale Crovers drums are still the best your going to find under 60 beats per minute.
For better or worse, the entire album has a very over-the-top Led Zeppelin feel to it. The standout and opening track “The Kicking Machine” sounds like a Melvins take on “Out on the Tiles” with layers of off-kiltered harmonies powering the usual big riffs. The general Melvins production values have raised by modern standards, but the entire records suffers a lack of their obvious strong point: grit. No one wants to hear the nuances of their drum kits or layers of guitar. Again, this comes down to studio versus live setting. You can still get something out of the latter: hearing their sound in a live format reveals the essence of their recorded strength in a roughness that’s lacking in Nude With Boots.
Ultimately, almost all the songs on this album are completely forgettable. Zone out hard enough, and you’re hearing something backing a fight scene in a Charlie’s Angels movie: it’s like they’ve reverted to sounding more like the bar bands that impersonate them then the innovative, grotesque energy they conjured up in years long past. All and all, a completely pointless album but not the slightest reason to stop seeing them live or listening to old records or loving Melvins.