For grunge junkies and Nirvana biographers, Scotland's The Vaselines are just another rock 'n' roll footnote, another band Kurt Cobain listened to as a (disturbed) youth and whom he'd later cover during his relatively quick rise and fall. And there are probably still a few tortured, unknowing souls who think Cobain wrote "Molly's Lips" and "Jesus Don't Want Me as a Sunbeam," two cuts The Vaselines released way back in 1986. Simple, direct, nearly folksy, those songs, like many written by Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee, were not meant for mass consumption. Much like the work of Daniel Johnston, the songs of The Vaselines came across as warped nursery rhymes set to music. Perhaps Cobain took some comfort in the simplicity and naivete of The Vaselines. Whatever the case, the band is forever linked with the grunge movement even though Kelly and McKee's music is far removed from the flannel shirts and disheveled noise often associated with the genre.
After not recording together for nearly two decades, Kelly and McKee played a few reunion shows in 2008 just as a way of promoting solo efforts. To the surprise of everyone, a new album, Sex with an X, appeared just last month. Although the effort's title may raise a few eyebrows, the music isn't that much different than what The Vaselines recorded back in the day. Playful if a bit worn-out, songs like "Overweight but Over You" and "I Hate the 80's" display the kind of spunk that drew Cobain to the band to begin with.