When the Meat Puppets emerged from the Arizona desert in the early eighties, no one knew what to make of their raw, hyperaccelerated blend of country and psychedelic rock. The Kirkwood brothers (bassist Cris, singer-guitarist-songwriter Curt) had gone beyond a hardcore-punk style to adopt this new sound, and while the music had the same loose cohesion as, say, the Grateful Dead’s, the Pups sounded nothing like them—or anyone else. But following their biggest success (1994’s Too High to Die went gold), Cris’s drug addiction splintered the band. Curt moved to Austin and carried on, and the brothers reunited in 2006. Sewn Together (Megaforce) is their second release since this reunion and the first to really recapture their glory days. The album strikes a balance between their nineties major-label polish and the magic of their early lo-fi SST releases, and Curt’s nimble guitar lines no longer dominate the songs (hook laden and lyrically inconsequential) or vocals (multilayered and actually in tune). The Meat Puppets are a more accomplished band now, if, minus their amateurish charm, a slightly less interesting one. Still, it’s nice to have ’em back.
From the June 2009 Issue Subscribe