Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Fluid - Roadmouth (1989, Sub Pop)

As a continuation of yesterday's Sub Pop post regarding Swallow, I've decided to zero in once again on another worthy band that had the good heart to reunite for the label's 20th Anniversary gonzo event, The West Seattle Summerfest. Denver, CO's The Fluid were the subject of an earlier post that I assembled last October for their second album, Clear Black Paper. Roadmouth was the album that followed and was something of a revelation for me (I urge you to click the CBP hyperlink for all the accolades I gave Roadmouth in that previous post).

Being the first band outside of Seattle to sign with Sub Pop should justify some bragging rights, but compared to Nirvana's Bleach, which was released within months of The Fluid's most stunning effort ever, the Jack Endino recorded Roadmouth, tanked by comparison. Yet almost everyone that heard the album, along with their subsequent Glue ep released in '90, became an instant convert. The Fluid's bass heavy, walloping groove (sans any "boogie" cheesiness, thankfully) and James Clower's and Rick Kulwicki's down and dirty six-string maneuvers, lent itself perfectly to the sludgy brew that was slowly smoldering in the uppermost region of the Pacific northwest at the moment. In other words, they were as "grungy" and muscular as any of their Seattle contemporaries, but The Fluid's punk bent (think The Stooges after an Arnold Schwarzenegger style bulk-up) put them on par with the Sex Pistols, if only in my own personal Small of Fame. The songwriting on Roadmouth was, and presumably still is intended to be of an esoteric nature - either that or just a bunch of stream-of-consciousness flapdoodle. Nevertheless the album's impact is sustained, succinct, and a blast to listen to, especially in the car.
Roadmouth's various "retail" incarnations are in my opinion deserving of explanation. You could buy the straight vinyl version containing the first eleven songs listed in the tracklist below, OR get cheated (like me)and buy the cassette/CD version that paired the full six-cut Glue ep with a truncated version of Roadmouth that omitted two songs - "Leave It," and "Big Brother," the latter a wah wah-laden Rare Earth cover. Low and behold however, the European version of Roadmouth, a co-release with Sub Pop and Glitterhouse Records was released as a stand-alone CD with all eleven songs intact, and "Saccharin Rejection," one of the more stimulating cuts from their debut album Punch and Judy. This rip is derived from the Glitterhouse CD version that I was damn lucky to stumble upon many years ago. All versions of the album are out of print, as is the rest of The Fluid oeuvre.

The band's Seattle reunion this weekend, and a previous gig in their hometown of Denver have been documented in a few recent articles. An interview with mouthpiece John Robinson is here, and James Clower here, and even a review of the Denver gig. You can also listen to many a Fluid tune at this location.
01. Hooked
02. Human Mill
03. Big Brother
04. Girl Bomb
05. Leave It
06. Fool's Rule
07. Cop a Plea
08. Ode to Miss Lodge
09. Twisted & Pissed
10. Is It Day?
11. What Man
12. Saccharin Rejection


planckzoo said...

Thanks for posting this, I really like the Fluids early stuff. Too bad that CD they put out on Hollywood Records was so awful(The Production is so bad, it makes it hard to tell if the songs are good or not).

spavid said...

I largely agree with you. Actually, you can download demos for Purplemetalflake here:

Alex said...

Thanks for this. Did you grab their warm up show w/ Green River? Their SP20 set is supposed to be going up soon.

Unknown said...

Hi, please be so kind and reup the albums from "THe Fluid".

Thanks, Piet NL

spavid said...

The link has been updated.