Recorded on a shoestring budget and released back in 1989 when Seattle was still a relatively obscure musical backwater, it was nevertherless clear that Nirvana were something special. Grunge contemporaries like Tad, Mudhoney and Soundgarden certainly had some fine moments but none were able to produce records of such consistent excellence.
All of the ingredients for a grunge classic are here: slow, heavy riffing of sludgy guitars and lyrics which convey the stifling frustration of being a social misfit in a small American town.
What sets `Bleach' apart from its peers, though, is Cobain's seemingly innate deftness of touch and pop sensibility. This really shines through on `Blew' and the rightly celebrated `About a Girl' (which Cobain feared might be too poppy for his label) but is also present on heavier numbers like `Floyd the Barber', `School' and the claustrophobic `Sifting'. Even the out-and-out thrilling thrash-fest of `Negative Creep' can be sung (or screamed) along to.
`Bleach' caught the ear of David Geffen and `Nevermind' catapulted Cobain to reluctant superstardom, but the seeds of greatness were sown in this brilliant record, arguably the greatest grunge LP recorded.