MEAT PUPPETS: SKULL-DISSOLVING?
The Meat Puppets Rise To Your Knees Anodyne Records, 2007
Since it was my brilliant idea and all to name our bouncing baby blog after a Meat Puppets album (not the best one, but we damn well couldn’t call it “II” now could we?) and considering my marked tendencies to fawn and drool whenever said Puppets pop up in conversation, it was only natural that I was ready and raring to kiss their asses up and down for this one. Well, you can imagine my consternation when I listened to it several times over and found it dull as snot. Flat vocals, plodding paces, boring drumming, with some nice guitar solos but not enough to pull the whole thing outta the muck. Almost seventy minutes long and a chore to listen to, see.
However…after cleansing my canals with some nastier blare, I happened upon THIS interview in which Curt talks about how much he loves the darn thing and particularly his non-monetary motives in reforming the band (AND his assessment that the Meat Puppets is a near-unbeatable band name—hard to argue with that one). So, I kicked myself into further chore-work and gave it another chance. And upon further reflection, it isn’t so bad. I still think it isn’t so great, either; it plods terribly in places, and the psychedelic whirlpools they’re so good at conjuring only seem half as skull-dissolving as the mystical religious beauties they stirred up in their glory years with SST. However, some of the melodies stay to charm you quite beguilingly, the instrumentation is pretty damn good for a bunch of first takes, and hell, they are psychedelic whirlpools, and how often do you get those nowadays? As good if not better than Too High to Die but not in the same ball park as the SST stuff. Would benefit greatly from the return of Derrick Bostrom, but he does what he will.