Meat Puppets Reviewed
Rise to Your Knees (Anodyne)
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., July 20, 2007
Rise to Your Knees (Andoyne)
The Meat Puppets defined themselves in the early Eighties through two eponymous releases, a spoon-cooked amalgam of spaghetti-western country and reckless punk, only a fraction of which was watered down into what became grunge. More than two decades later, the trio comes full circle, though time has clearly taken its toll on the group. Self-produced and recorded live on a shoestring budget, Rise to Your Knees, the first album by reunited brothers Curt and Cris Kirkwood since 1995's misleading No Joke!, is a subdued and psychedelic affair, where the guitars melt instead of fry. Whereas 2000's Golden Lies overcompensated with volume, the resurgent Puppets embrace this change, lightening the atmosphere occasionally with synthesizers and moving seamlessly from meandering acoustic numbers like "On the Rise," which reveal Curt's matured song craft, to fuzz-blown power chords ("Radio Moth") and the guit-jo pluck of "Tiny Kingdom." "New Leaf" comes closest to the explosive timing that defined 1985's Up on the Sun, while Kurt Cobain's lingering shadow appears in the desert mirage of "Stone Eyes." Feedback encapsulates the contemplative "Vultures," and local producer Chris "Frenchie" Smith's hypnosis guitar ignites closer "Light the Fire." Consider this therapy for the soul.