Picks and Pans Review: Nevermind

updated 12/23/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/23/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST


Seattle strikes again! To the roster of excellent rock bands that have recently emerged from the area—Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees—add this gritty trio, made up of guitarist/singer Kurt Cobain, bass player Chris Novoselic and drummer David Grohl.

Their major-label debut offers an intriguing study in contrasts. "Come as You Are," for instance, is grunge rock with melody. The mutant "Breed" is pop punk.

All the songs are built on strong rhythmic foundations thanks to Grohl, one of the most expressive drummers in hard rock. His eloquent work on "In Bloom," for example, shows a richness of tone reminiscent of Ginger Baker or John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.

Nirvana's best songs, namely "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Lithium," combine ferocious energy with great hooks. But they know how to landscape the rough terrain with quiet pools. These dramatic shifts make the slamming stuff hit that much harder.

Imagine a cross between the brute power of Metallica and the gawky beauty of the Replacements, and you have achieved Nirvana. (DGC)

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