grunge: the new primitivism

Miss Happiness (Caroline)
Walt Mink

By Kory Wilcoxson

In the tradition of metal ages (Iron Age, Bronze Age, Aluminum Age) comes the 1990's version: The Grunge Age. Future historians will distinguish the Grunge Age by the long-haired, gravel-throated creatures that roamed the earth. Their stringed weapons will be remembered for the excessive amount of noise they made, whicheventually a) caused cancer, b) completed depleted the ozone layer,or c) gave everyone above 55 a heart attack.

But Grunge Man is not without his supporters. Originally discovered somewhere in the Seattle area, Grunge Man took to the streets, and was soon to be found in every backwoods bar and underground club. And you can add Walt Mink to the list of species.

And Miss Happiness is quite a relic. Walt Mink (singer and guitarist John Kimbrough, bassist Candice Belanoff and drummer Joey Waronker) have chiseled out ten songs laden with dirty guitar and more than a hint of Southern Rock influence.

Kimbrough's voice is strangely innocent against such a brutal backdrop of violent drums and offensive guitar, but it's a nice mixture that works for them.

Switching smoothly from a slow scream to a crunch and burn, Walt Mink works wonders in tracks. "Showers Down" is an anthem-like orgy of feedback and vicious beats, broken only by Kimbrough'seerie moan. "Twinkle & Shine" could be called cutesy if it weren't for the angst dripping from the speakers.

Kimbrough shows some good songwriting ability, penning nine ofthe ten tunes. And his nifty guitar work throughout really brings them to life.