By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
It also happens to be, if not a great Meat Puppets record, then at least a pretty good one. Curt has been touting Knees as of a piece with his band's much-fetishized 1980s SST output, which established the sun-baked Arizonian trio as the biggestand most adventurous, if not exactly the most musically adeptbunch of weirdos on a label packed to the gills with 'em. In truth, the new record skews more traditional, spurning all traces of the Puppets' early punk (as expected) or more recent heavy-metal (thank God) proclivities in favor of a jangly, quasi-rootsy, pleasantly sloppy approach.
So the highlights are subtlerCurt's strangled guitar leads on "Vultures," Cris's bucolic guitjo plucking on "Tiny Kingdom," the brothers' vaporous vocal harmonies on "Disappear"but also more tuneful. As a lyricist, Curt remains impressively impressionistic, fashioning evocative portraits out of seemingly random imagesice on fire, crap on shoes, a trip to the, um, mallthough his delivery is thoroughly deadpan, practically deflated. In playing it straight, however, the Pups emphasize their abilities as skilled synthesists rather than merely falling back on their rep as inspired eccentrics, suggesting a band that, though grounded, has yet to plateau.
The Meat Puppets play the Knitting Factory August 29-30, knittingfactory.com