Who: From 1983 to 1987, the U-Men were the hype of the Seattle Underground. The band recorded a handful of singles and one full length album in 1988. This new collection features the U-Men’s entire studio-recorded output plus 5 unreleased songs.
Sound: You might expect the early days of full grunge here but even though the U-Men has that spirit they were more a blend of The Sonics, Link Wray, Pere Ubu, and Captain Beefheart with an aggressive post-punk edge.
TFN Final Take: The U-Men should have been well known. They should be a band that today is talked about much like other area bands of that time like the Melvins, Wipers, Green River and Mudhoney. My guess is that when they called it quits in 1989 it was too early as hair bands were still a thing. With that said, Sub Pop has released this anthology that is an absolute testament of how cool the U-Men were. Their music is brooding, dark, feisty and is led by the swagger of frontman John Bigley that just sounded like he didn’t give a damn. That is the glue of this noisy and raw output from the U-Men because their music is absolutely focused. It doesn’t have big hooks or melody like some of the successful grunge bands of a few years later, but U-Men win you over with their guitar work, sporadic tempo changes and just the idea that they know how to party. One spin of the flyin’ “Freezebomb,” “They!,” or “Green Trumpet” and you will be a fan for life.
Sub Pop Records
– Reviewed by Thomas Wilde