Nirvana: Incesticide (Geffen Records)

ORIGINALLY INTENDED for release by their former label under the name Cash Cow, this collection of fifteen tight and tuneful Nirvana rarities has one of 1992’s few American economic success stories retreating in haste from the smell of teen heartthrob sell-out.

Comprised of previous independent and Japanese releases, cover songs (Devo, the Vaselines), studio outtakes and demo tapes dating back to 1988, Incesticide is raw background on Nirvana for fans whose concept of Seattle Rock stops at Pearl Jam.

Incesticide says a lot about the directness and honesty of Nirvana, their emotional intensity, and their instinctive ability to make a song hook catch. With a simple formula featuring buzzing guitars, coarse vocals, and appealing songs with repetitive choruses, the band packs the moves of 80’s hardcore bands like Black Flag, Hüsker Dü, and the Meat Puppets into a tight package that’s easy to accept.

In the CD liner notes, frontman Cobain talks candidly about the fringe benefits (like meeting his musical heros) and frustrations (like having his wife bad-mouthed) of being promoted quickly from underground rocker to “boy genius” pop star. He also promises that Nirvana will produce harsher, more challenging sounds for their next studio album. Let’s see what Casey Kasem does with that.

© Ian ChristeWarp, June 1993

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