The Muffs

No Holiday (Omnivore Recordings)

It’s been five years since the last Muffs album, 2014’s Whoop Dee Doo. That came ten years after the preceding Really Really Happy in 2004. In-between, front woman Kim Shattuck joined the reformed  Pixies in 2013 for six months, and then participated in the Pandoras reunion in 2015.

So what we’ve learned from all this is that Shattuck pretty much does things on her terms, when and if she wants. And that’s to the immense benefit of the music.

“I wrote the songs between 1991 and 2017,” she said in a press release. “We decided to have a long album and use songs that had been in my arsenal but were weeded out for super concise albums. They were all great songs and we didn’t want them to go to waste. No way!”

Nobody familiar with The Muffs will be surprised to learn that there is no filler here. Each of the 18 (!) tracks on offer is entirely memorable, gloriously catchy and full of welcome, caustic ‘tude. It’s that magic combination of sugary sweet melodies and a bit of barbed wire that makes it all work, from the opening, over-in-a-flash “That’s For Me” to the closing “Sky.”

“I think this new album represents the depth of our band like none of our others,” bassist Ronnie Barnett said. “It could have easily been aptly called The Many Moods Of The Muffs. All of our strengths: melody, big rock, sweetness, nastiness… All on display and readily apparent. The three of us, after all these years, are a family. The love between us is well represented here. We laid it all out there on this one.”

He’s absolutely right. Those dynamics are a thrill — the way the album goes from full pop-punk singalong on “Down Down Down” to the emotional blast that is “No Holiday” — it’s a wave that you want to ride to the conclusion, time and time again.

If this is the band’s last album for another five to ten years, then so be it. It’s more than good enough to keep us happy.

Editor’s note: The day after this review posted, we learned of the death of Kim Shattuck. We’re heartbroken with the knowledge that this will indeed be the last Muffs album and we’ll miss her terribly.

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(Omnivore Recordings)

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