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[Off The Record]
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Puddle of Mudd

As the first new artists signed to Fred Durst’s Flawless label, heartland rockers Puddle of Mudd are on the fastest track to stardom a band could hope for these days. They’ve also made a strong push out of the gates with their first single, " Control, " and its instantly memorable catchphrase, " I love the way you smack my ass. " Like fellow Durst discoveries Staind, the group eschew their boss’s rap-metal rowdiness in favor of the dark, weatherbeaten sounds of radio grunge. Their light-and-shade approach also begs comparison with Creed, with whom they share producer John Kurzweg.

But Puddle of Mudd have better taste in early-’90s rock than most of their contemporaries (more Nirvana and Alice in Chains, less Pearl Jam and Soundgarden), and frontman Wes Scantlin breaks up the angst-ridden proceedings with a couple of well-timed smirks. The otherwise ponderous " Bring Me Down " sports a humorous riff on Bowie’s " Suffragette City " ; the silly narrative " She Hates Me " descends into novelty with a casually profane chorus. " Blurry " is the prettiest of the disc’s serious moments, and Scantlin leaves the band plenty of room to rock out behind his shrill Cobain/Staley vocal outbursts on " Basement " and " Nobody Told Me. " There’s no question this is good stuff; the only question is whether such blatant grunge recidivism is good for rock and roll.

(Puddle of Mudd open for Godsmack and Deftones this Friday, August 24, at the Tweeter Center. The show is officially sold out.)


Issue Date: August 23 - 30, 2001

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