Meat Puppets

Rat Farm (Megaforce)

Texas Platters

Meat Puppets

Rat Farm (Megaforce)

The Meat Puppets are now older than the dirt they kick up. With their eponymous debut three decades aged, the threesome's 14th studio trek reconfirms their unbelievable comeback. After last decade's drug drama by bassist Cris Kirkwood, older brother Curt continues penning some of the strongest, sweetest, and compellingly twisted material of his already storied songwriting career. Add to that the nervy beat of Doug Sahm scion Shandon and this fourth LP since the group's reboot spins as much in tune with what the original trio was doing when it began as nearly anything they've recorded since. Curt Kirkwood calls it "real blown-up folk music," which we interpret to mean truly cosmic country with trademark slacker vocals, brotherly harmonies, and sunbaked psychedelic touches that remain surprising and ultimately distinct. There's enough distorted weirdness, easygoing melodies, and guitar both hard and jangly to demonstrate why the Meat Puppets influenced both Nirvana and R.E.M. The droning "Time and Money" and "Down," with its soaring guitar solo and loping bass, plus the reggae-country title track are all things the Pups have always done well. It's almost unimaginable, but they continue to render sounds that swirl and dissolve into something deceptively and gloriously American.

***.5

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