By Meat Puppets
With its psychedelic cover and random accompanying videos, you would think this latest album from Meat Puppets was a little "out there" like some of their earlier recordings, but this is a catchy, smooth selection of music. Shandon Sahm is back on the drums taking over from Ted Marcus, and they have an upcoming job to do curating the ATP festival in May. All this work shows that a band that has been going for over three decades and some hard times is starting to slow down a bit.
The cow punk and twisted psychedelia have gone, replaced with a couple of good tunes and then some that sound (and are named) a little like nursery rhymes ('The Spider And The Spaceship'). Curt Kirkwood's vocals are not the unregulated type they used to be, standing in line and quite tuneful, not cracking like a bad plastering job. His guitar skills are left by the wayside too, we know they are there by the slight outbursts in songs like 'Hour Of The Idiot', but it's tunes like the repetitive 'Lantern' that bring this album down when it could shine, although ska beginnings like the one on 'Shave It' make up for it.
That said Meat Puppets are in the bracket of aging alternative rockers, who all appear to be choosing the acoustic route, and who wouldn't? They've tried their hand at many genres in their own style, and this may not be 'Meat Puppets II', but it wasn't going to be, and it's a lot better than 'Sewn Together'. Plus tracks like the lively 'Orange' are superb catchy rock tunes. All in all a great album but not a stand out one in their career.