Review Revue: Fudge Tunnel – Hate Songs in E Minor

With a band name like “Fudge Tunnel” and an album title like “Hate Songs in E Minor,” you might think this early ’90s Nottingham band would be dark and heavy, somewhere on the metal/proto-grunge spectrum, probably with a twisted and edgy sense of humor. And you’d, um, be totally right. I missed the boat on Fudge Tunnel at the time (though I do remember snickering at their name as I flipped past it in the record bins of Newbury Comics as a young ‘un), but listening now via the magic of this instant access internet streaming age we live in, this band would have fit in very well with the music I was listening to at the time. Damn good stuff that seems perfectly tuned for 1991 Seattle.

You might not know the name Alex Newport (one of Fudge Tunnel’s founding members), but if you listen to KEXP I guarantee you’ve heard his work. Newport is now a prolific recording and mixing engineer based in New York, who’s worked with everyone from the Melvins and At the Drive In to Two Gallants and Death Cab for Cutie (whose 2008 Narrow Stairs he mixed). An impressive roster indeed, but based on this Fudge Tunnel record I would like to hear him get back on the other side of the mixing board some time.

“‘Right up my alley,’ so to speak. Heavy and complacently mean. M

[Drawing of a face with frizzy hair squinting its eyes and sticking its tongue out. Not sure what that’s meant to convey.]

“Oh well! I like it anyway …”

“Me too!”

“This is my favorite rock record of ’91 so far – so there.”

“I don’t believe you, Don.”

“Sounds like H to me.”

“This is Don’s fave ‘rock’ rec of ’91? Does this say more about ‘rock’ in ’91, or the fact that Don listens to too much rap? This is hype. Clever packaging – too bad you can’t wear it! Better ‘hate’ recs out in ’91: Poison Idea’s Pick Your King, Torture Garden, Halo of Flies Comp, Sandy Duncan’s Eye 7″, Cypress Hill ‘How I Could Just Kill a Man’ 12″ [Wait, didn’t he just say that Don was listening to too much rap?], etc. Too many better ‘rock’ recs to list. Don’t get me wrong, I like the album title too. Real neat.”

“Actually, the Poison Idea rec’s from ’83, so I cheated.”

“Does this comment speak more for the state of ‘rock’ in ’91 or the fact you listen to too much rap? Too bad you guys can’t wear this rec ’cause it sounds like all concept to me.” [Weird, I thought multiple comments from one person saying more or less the same thing were strictly a product of the Internet glitch age. Yet another way in which these album cover debates anticipated the Web!]

“Actually, Jack, I find the ‘concept’ kinda silly. What matters to me is the sound – an unholy mesh of Earache and Subpop that sets me right after a rough day. I guess I’m just more into sound (i.e. music) than theory.”

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