Green River, "Forever Means" (Sub Pop)
Sub Pop continues to do its due diligence for Seattle rock history by reissuing two key 1980s releases by Green River: Dry as a Bone and Rehab Doll (both came out in deluxe LP and CD versions remastered by original producer Jack Endino on January 25). Better than any other group other than perhaps U-Men, Green River foretold the aggressive sound that would come to define Seattle music in the '90s: dirty, febrile, enamored of punk and metal while not averse to nodding to the blues' more ornery inclinations. Bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard of course went to play in Mother Love Bone and Pearl Jam, but they never sounded better than they do here. Vocalist/guitarist Mark Arm of course went on to front Mudhoney, and you can hear how he was already a fully formed, charismatic madman on these records. Guitarist Bruce Fairweather (Mother Love Bone, Love Battery) and drummer Alex Shumway (Thee Deception) round out the lineup.
The lead-off track from Rehab Doll, "Forever Means" stealthily careens like early Mudhoney, which is why I dig it so much. The band seems to be reining in their agitated power as if it were a Rottweiler straining at its leash, and that tension makes the song bristle with danger. It's as if Green River were renovating the Stooges' Fun House and then defacing it with graffiti.