It’s hard to say why I grabbed Mondo Generator’s subtly titled Fuck It from the promo bin but, if you’re putting me on the spot, I think excitement probably got the better of me. Not, I should be clear, excitement because I love Mondo Generator – I do not – but simply the excitement of seeing a band I had actually heard of, which had not already been snapped up by one of the nimbler reviewers. The brainchild of Nick Oliveri – and sometimes also known as Nick Oliveri’s Mondo Generator – of Kyuss, Dwarves and Queens of the Stone Age fame (among others), Mondo Generator has been around for quite a while. Originally conceived as an Oliveri solo project in 1997, debut Cocaine Rodeo materialized in 2000. Since then, a further four full-lengths (plus a bunch of EPs, singles and a best of compilation) have appeared, most recently 2012’s surprisingly decent Hell comes to your Heart.
Perhaps to make up for this lengthy absence, new label Heavy Psych Sounds will be putting out not one, but two Mondo Generator albums this month: Fuck It and, a week later, the grammatically-annoying Shooters Bible (written and recorded, but not released, in 2010). I am, however, only interested – and not super interested, it has to be said – in Fuck It. Straight out the starting gate, there is little doubt you’re listening to an Oliveri project. Within in three songs, you’ve moved gracelessly through the bluesy desert rock of Kyuss (“Nowhere Man”), the punk-fueled adrenaline of Dwarves (“Up against the Void”) and the radio-friendly groove of QOTSA (“Kyuss Dies!”). And this sets the tone for the record as a whole, as Oliveri and co lurch through 14 jarringly assorted tracks, over a runtime that feels considerably longer than its actual 43 minutes.
Broadly speaking, Mondo Generator have two moods on show on Fuck It. The first is the sort of acerbic punk rock that brings you lyrics like “well, I’m looking for cheap thrills, a fifth full of whiskey and a head full of pills” (the excellently-named “Turboner”); the second is the more interesting, but less used, hard stoner rock of cuts like the title track and “Silver Tequila: 666 Miles Away.” I have tried numerous ways of writing this so as to avoid simply describing tracks but it hasn’t worked so, you know, fuck it, as they say. Caustic Dwarves-esque tracks like “When Death Comes” and “It’s You I Don’t Believe” offer simplistic thrashy punk, with Oliveri’s hoarse shouted vocals doing their not-so-subtle thing. “S_V_E_T_L_A_N_A_S” sees Oliveri’s standard delivery supplemented by call-and-response verses, with a high-pitched almost Spanish-sounding … oh, fuck it, whatever.
There’s no getting around this. Fuck It is not great. The Mondo Generator of 2020 seems to lack both the meaty groove of last outing, Hell comes to our Heart, as well as any real standout tracks, like the raw “Open Up & Bleed for Me” or the joyously galloping “Here We Come,” both from 2003’s A Drug Problem that Never Existed. Although we all know Oliveri can handle his bass expertly, and there is solid enough work on drums and guitar from his band mates, there is just nothing memorable here, including riffs. Add to this a largely thin, tinny sound (the real exceptions to this being the highlights of album opener “Nowhere Man” and “Kyuss Dies!”), with Oliveri’s raucous vocals too high in the mix, and there really isn’t that much to recommend Fuck It.
To be clear, Fuck It is not a terrible album but, to me, this is Mondo Generator in particularly uninspired form. The best tracks – by some distance – are the opening three and the title track, which feel more mature and have greater depth (all relative on an album called Fuck It) than the rest of the record, which oscillates between irritating and forgettable. If you like Dwarves and feel that what you really need is an album dominated by the rougher, punkier hard rock side of previous Mondo Generator outings, this might be worth checking out. If, like me, you were hoping for a slab of hard rock, balancing the violent punk with some blues-tinged, melody … well, there’s another Mondo Generator album coming out a week later, so there’s still hope.
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds
Websites: heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/officialmondogenerator
Release Dates: Digital: 02.21.2020 | EU: 2020.02.21 | NA: 02.28.2020