Among other, healthier spring activities, I spent a fair part of the Bank Holiday weekend introducing my three-year-old to The Beach Boys and Lightning Bolt and listening to “Superfuzz Bigmuff” – not on any particular grunge nostalgia binge, but because it has just been subjected to the extensive, deluxe, collector’s edition reissue treatment.

Among other, healthier spring activities, I spent a fair part of the Bank Holiday weekend introducing my three-year-old to The Beach Boys and Lightning Bolt and listening to “Superfuzz Bigmuff” – not on any particular grunge nostalgia binge, but because it has just been subjected to the extensive, deluxe, collector’s edition reissue treatment.

There’s something mildly farcical about Mudhoney’s debut mini-album getting this sort of lavish reverence, of course. What was once a six-tracker, now lurches unsteadily across two CDs, totalling 32 tracks – the possibilities of a two-track seven-inch being afforded a 2CD extended package seem ever more plausible. But still, part of Mudhoney’s charm has always been how they take something rudimentary and drag it out inexorably. The Stooges only lasted for three albums, plenty of ‘60s garage bands worshipped by Mark Arm and co probably only lasted for a three-minute single. Mudhoney, though, have kept this schtick going, not hugely changed, for two decades now, no doubt amused by the irony of a studiously dumb, sloppy band becoming an institution.

This month, Sub Pop have made the slightly odd decision to release this bumper “Superfuzz” package at the same time as a new Mudhoney album, “The Lucky Ones”. The latter is as likeable as ever, though perhaps not quite as good as the last one, “Under A Billion Suns”, and inevitably dwarfed by the heavy shadow of “Superfuzz Bigmuff”.

It still sounds great, as you might imagine, augmented (as with previous reissues) with those early singles like “Touch Me I’m Sick” and the Sonic Youth split, “Halloween”, as well as various endless live tracks, demos of “Mudride” and such that prove, as if anyone really needed proof, that the nascent Mudhoney’s music wasn’t exactly finessed whenever they staggered into a studio.

What’s most striking, though, is how all these recordings reveal a long-suppressed truth about the whole Pacific Northwest grunge thing – that it was actually much less emotionally complicated than most indie and alternative rock. I guess most mainstream views now memorialise the scene through the filter of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, as a great anguished howl of the disconsolate and so on.

As anyone who knows about Nirvana from some of their actual records (rather than the entirely creepy Cobain industry that seems to throw up another “revelatory” documentary about the poor guy every few months), there are plenty of ecstatic punk thrashes in the Nirvana catalogue. But still, thanks also I guess to some of Eddie Vedder’s ruminations, the slurry of Alice In Chains and later Soundgarden, the myth of Mark Lanegan and so on, the legend of grunge is inexorably tied up in misery.

Mudhoney, and “Superfuzz Bigmuff” in particular, posit a brilliant alternative path, that you can trace all the way through to a Pearl Jam single like “Spin The Black Circle”, oddly. It’s a culture of wise and sometimes snarky men spending long years studying garage rock, metal, hardcore and so on, fetishising the most primitive manifestations of rock, then having a go themselves. It isn’t crude and primal because – as countless post-Nirvana analysts might have you believe – it’s the best way to tap into the crudest and most primal emotions. It just sounds that way because it’s dumb and exhilarating.

The return of “Superfuzz” allows us, in a small way perhaps, to try and tamper with the received history of the Seattle scene. Usually, the picture that comes to mind is the NME shot by Martyn Goodacre of the youngish Kurt, kohl-eyed and soulful. Today, though, I keep thinking of another NME shot, again by Martyn, I think. It’s of Tad, live at the London Powerhaus, sailing into the faintly terrified crowd in a gigantic belly-flop of a stagedive. It’s stupid, thrilling and very funny. Like “Superfuzz Bigmuff” and the whole daft idea of grunge itself, maybe.