The man, the myth, the machine - Joe Preston. He's played with EARTH, SUNN0))), THE WHIP and most importantly to this humble reviewer, THE MELVINS. And not only did he play for THE MELVINS - after all, who hasn't at some point in time? - he recorded the bass for "Lysol", my pick for hands-down best album of all time. But Joe's not just some hired gun - no no no. The man can and does stand on his own, a point driven home by his solo vehicle THRONES. And to ride the vehicle analogy even further, rest assured that THRONES is not some boring Ford Taurus or Kia Spectra. No - THRONES is a jet black Mini Cooper with a minigun and snow tires.
"Sperm Whale" isn't really an album, though it sounds like one. Joe took the songs from the previously-released "Sperm Whale" and "White Rabbit" EPs and re-sequenced them into this full-length release. The line-up consists of Joe on bass, Joe on drum machine, Joe on vocals, Joe on synths and Joe on crazy-ass headache-inducing sounds. But that's the thing about THRONES - they'll give you a headache, but you'll love it the whole way through. Tunes like "Oso Malo" and "Nuts And Berries" are delightfully abrassive and noisy, though with a subtle Pop-sensibility hiding just below the surface. No guitar is clean, no vocal undistorted, no melody pretty - these songs sound like THE MELVINS at their weirdest and that's saying something. Granted, if you hate drum machines and synths, this will sound like absolute garbage, but hey, there's no accounting for taste.
Anyone who is into experimental or adventurous music owe it to themselves to give THRONES at least a cursory listen. Mr. Preston grabs music by the balls and twists until it begs for mercy, screaming "oh please Joe, please, I'll do whatever you say, just don't hurt me!" Sonic domination, my friends, is what THRONES is all about. (Online August 16, 2006)