"Return to Olympus" (Sony / Loosegrove; 1995)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Musical history is cluttered with the recorded remnants of musical prodigies. The brief, yet intense, flame of Mother Love Bone was preceded by Andrew Wood's band Malfunkshun.

Just like Mother Love Bone avoided direct comparison to the 'grunge' of Seattle, Malfunkshun took a decided different route to musical infamy. Using glam attitude and spirit, with the musical freedom afforded by the Seattle scene of the late '80s, Malfunkshun created free-form music that bridged the gap between the bombast of '70s rock in the vein of Queen and the '80s raw style and sound of DIY raw rock'n'roll. Malfunkshun shares more in common with Green River than some of the better known bands that hit it big during grunge's heyday.

While some tracks have has a bluesy, 'rawk' feel that are as infectious as they are messy, most of the disc remains rooted in the glam and symphonic sounds more associated with Queen and David Bowie more adventurous side.  Raw emotion provides the source material for Andrew Wood's unique perspective on life events and its never a dull moment when he shares his thoughts.

"Return To Olympus" isn't as dynamic as Wood's work with Mother Love Bone, but it is chock full of delightful musical gems that breathed life into music's past and injected hope for the future of music. Andrew Wood's star shone brightly, albeit briefly, and Malfunkshun is evidence of his musical vision and talent.

While Malfunkshun and "Return To Olympus" may not be 'very metal' it does provide a volume of insight into how rock'n'roll is a primal moving force in the world and hearts of people everywhere. Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard lovingly culled these tracks and respect must be paid to him for bringing Malfunkshun to world at large.

Malfunkshun is Andrew Wood, Kevin Wood, and Regan Hagar.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:46 -0400.