Meat Puppets Golden Lies (Breaking Records/Atlantic)

Texas Platters

Record Reviews

Meat Puppets

Golden Lies (Breaking Records/Atlantic)

Whatever it is -- comeback, new beginning, glorified Curt Kirkwood solo effort -- the Meat Puppets' Golden Lies is a compelling curiosity. In fact, talk of whether the new Austin-based lineup can be called "The Real Meat Puppets" is a red herring; Puppeteers know they've never been so much a band as an evolving canvas for Kirkwood's vision of "abstract rock & roll." In that respect, Golden Lies fits the Meat Puppets' canon nicely, because often enough, it doesn't fit at all. It may be as coarse, absurd, and unpredictable as Up on the Sun or Huevos, but it's ultimately -- and a bit indescribably -- different; not necessarily because of the fine performances from local co-conspirators Andrew Duplantis, Shandon Sahm, and Kyle Ellison, but perhaps because it's been five years since Kirkwood last sat down at the easel. Modern rock's spirit has flip-flopped a few times since then, and Golden Lies takes every opportunity to ramble, rattle, and rant in its face. While modern rock dines on Black Sabbath's carcass, Golden Lies plays like the soundtrack to John Lennon's last supper. Sure, there's plenty of unabashedly muscular riffing and no shortage of Kirkwood's rapping, but you'd never catch Fred Durst openly fearing a "big, fat zombie with a taste for your tailbone." While "Hercules,""You Love Me," "I Quit," and "Armed and Stupid" may be a tad more streamlined and friendly than typical Meat Puppets fare, there's no mistaking the nine-minute country/psychedelia closer "Fat Boy/ Fat/Requiem." What earns Golden Lies the right to be considered both a curiosity and compelling is how fluidly Kirkwood's disparate visions mesh; for all the signature quirk, that it's all so digestible in one listen goes against the catalog's grain. Does that make it yet another Meat Puppets album or the start of Meat Puppets Mark II? It's a bit of both, but who cares? This is Curt Kirkwood's world, and if the past tells us anything, it's that visiting it doesn't give us the right to name it.

***.5

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