Nirvana: From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (Geffen)

FOR ALL THOSE who will overturn the tables like Jesus in the temple if they hear Nirvana Unplugged in another vegetarian restaurant, From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (Geffen) will be manna to the ears.

The Wishkah is the river that runs through Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic’s hometown of Aberdeen, Washington and this long-awaited live record is Nirvana’s Viking funeral: rather than leaving the band mummified in the inaptly user-friendly mausoleum of 1994’s Unplugged, it takes their legacy out onto the water and puts a torch to it.

Of the 16 tracks here, only one (a dreary, almost catatonic ‘Spank Thru’) is anything less than thrilling. The scary thing is that – his sorry end and subsequent iconification notwithstanding – Cobain in full throat is still one of the most life-affirming sounds available.

© Ben ThompsonIndependent on Sunday, October 1996

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