Mark Deutrom is a guitarist, composer, songwriter, and producer. Most of his energies went into producing until he joined The Melvins as bass player between 1993 and 1998. His first full-length solo album, The Silent Treatment first came out in 2000 and has been rejigged and reissued now. Written and performed by Mark apart from Johnny Evans contributing all drums. It is a blend of blues rock, Southern boogie, psychedelia and a few progressive musical references thrown in!
There are 17 tracks on the album, although only 3 break the 4-minute mark, and the first ‘Toshiro Mifune’ sounds as though it was recorded on an old C90 cassette. All fuzz guitar and tinny drums give less than 2 minutes of meaningless noise and yet it is brilliant! The delightfully named ‘The Hobnail Paisley’ is next. Here we get a weakish vocal over more fuzzy guitar but it brings a kind of T.Rex vibe to the song. ‘Chihuahua’ has the vocal so phased as to be meaningless with, you’ve guessed, more fuzzed guitar.
‘Coffinmaker’s Complaint’ begins all Pink Floydish, and stays there without any variation. I really wanted ‘Fat Hamlet’ to be a play on the cigar advert, but it turns out to be unsatisfying fuzz without direction.
‘Van Diemen’s Land’ is suddenly different. Clear tones this time with a poppy riff and vocals with a couple of Kinks-like lead breaks. The longest track, ‘Candlelight and Wisteria’ is the closest to a standard, fully formed track and has an extended guitar solo at last.
This is a fascinating guitar album but as the vocals are weak and down in the mix, possibly because of this, it often comes across as muddy. A lot of fuzz yes, but with enough variation to get an insight into Deutrom’s abilities while leaving me wanting more structured and cohesive songs.
Not an iPod skipper, but never a chosen album.