15 March 2013

Nirvana - In Utero

Legends are born out the ordinary.  You are not born into greatness that you have earned, people might say they are born into legendary families, but they are just personally formed limpets.  Musically, it is different.  Nirvana was a great band that has now became a legendary band.  I had a friend who saw their first UK gig which was held at a venue called The Riverside in Newcastle upon Tyne.  He said they were shite and did not know how they got were they did as their performances had not improved.  It just goes to show that one man's legend is another man's ordinary.

If you don't know who Nirvana was, they were The Grunge band (along with Pearl Jam) who came from Seattle in the USA.  Musically they were more of a punk band if I am honest (grunge just covers too many types of music), and this was their final release before the band's lead singer Kurt Cobain killed himself (or was killed depending on which side conspiracy theories you live on).  When this album came out, the band seemed to be in the middle of a massive internal tornado which seems to be eating their soul.  Drugs, rock n roll, break up's, women - it was all happening.  Stories about the recording process, the problems with the label hating the sound are available elsewhere and you can read them at your leisure.  What I want to talk about is the album itself.

Musically it is a return to the more primal sound of Nirvana.  Their previous album - Nevermind - is a shiney punk with a hint of pop (and shamelessly stealing of a Killing Joke song for one track) which hangs over the music world like a dark nightmare.  The band reacted to it with this release.  The people in charged shitted themselves that no-one would like it, but they were wrong to do that.  It was the perfect follow up - change the pattern, evolve and make something different.  It was so primal compared to Nevermind that it made more of an impression to some people.  Songs like "Milk It", "Heart Shaped Box", "Very Ape" and "Scentless Apprentice" should be held as examples of how to take a formula, rip it up and come back stronger.  There is not an obvious radio hit and I love that.  It is what this sort of band should have always been.  Is it better than Nevermind?  Well, yes and no.  Yes, it is more personable, but it does not have the x factor.  It has a soul, but it still sometimes feels like they were trying to rip up every copy of Nevermind and failed, but only just.

Of course, there is a few slower numbers - Cobain always had these and they do not sound out of place on album.  They give it a counter balance which is hard to gain at times.  I have a lot of time for this album; it is not my favourite release by Nirvana, that honour goes to the odds and sods collection called Incesticide.  But this album is a towering effort which tried to escape the clutches of its greater brother and slightly failed.  But it failed with a style and flair that would make lesser men weep.  It ended here, but it never faded away.

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

You can purchase from here
You can listen to it on Spotify here

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