The Meat Puppets were original in their own context. Although they began as a Hardcore Punk band from the start as a hobby, they quickly began to incorporate other unusual influences into their music, such as Psychedelic Rock and Country. Although this approach was not apparent on their debut album, it was by the time of this release. Often hailed as a very important album in the Alternative Rock genre, as it redefined the nature of Punk based bands. In addition, these guys played with Nirvana on their MTV Unplugged in New York live release on a couple of their songs as a collaborative effort. So this is safe to say that these guys, although not exactly Pop musicians, were massively influential. The group consisted of Curt Kirkwood, Cris Kirkwood and Derrick Bostrom as a three piece band. Without any further hesitation, let’s hear this album in full. The beautiful artwork that is the album cover was done by Curt Kirkwood himself, go figure.
Split Myself In Two begins with a strange sounding and fast-paced tune. This is completely different to anything else out there. Hollered vocals are here, as well as unusual musical influences for an obviously Hardcore Punk aesthetic. A really interesting tune about mental breakdowns and paranoia, this is instantly loveable for what it is sonically and musically. There are some insane guitar solos in the second half which sound really neat. A great song, although this is going to be a bit of an acquired taste. Awesome music and a strange musical concept overall. Very unorthodox, it has a very short running time at under two and a half minutes long. Cool though.
Magic Toy Missing begins with some fast-paced and awesome Rockabilly guitar. It’s an instrumental that is even shorter than the previous track, but a surreal listen anyway. With some nice and chiming Fender guitars and some tuneful percussion, this is amazing and legendary. A blazing guitar solo then emerges, which fits this piece perfectly. An excellent listening experience.
Lost begins with some nicely overdriven electric guitar parts and acoustic guitars, before launching into a super quirky piece of music. The lyrics are self-pitying and introspective. Having said that, this is a really lively and powerful tune about being at the crossroads of life. This is so close to Country music that if you played this to your friends, they may think that the Meat Puppets are indeed, a Country band. They are not. There are some excellent neck pickup guitar solos here as well, which make this piece even whackier. The solos conclude and the singing resumes. This is truly majestic art, and it does sound excellent. Never a dull moment here. If you like Hardcore Punk and quirkiness, then this is what you should be hearing. There is some interesting slide guitar soloing towards the end, with a cowboy styled holler to conclude this song with. Excellent.
Plateau begins with a drumstick clacking, before entering straight into the song at hand. This is a downtempo and moodily Psychedelic listen. This is not Hardcore Punk at all. Instead of being minimal and strict in an approach like that genre, this is a mellow acoustic ballad that still sounds amazing and fresh. A bit of a sonic adventure with a fantastic post-Hardcore Punk vibe. The playing in particular is truly decent here, and there are a variety of guitars and textures to make your mouth water. Brilliant music, well worth your time.
Aurora Borealis is a gorgeous and intricate piece that sounds quirky and moody from the start. Of course, this tune refers to the amazing lights of the night sky. No singing is here, just a very short piece of luscious instrumental to listen to. The mixing here is quite superb, with every musical element balanced perfectly in the mix. The band, as great as they are, benefit from this. All in all, this is a great and timely piece that sounds really magical and wonderful. A cool and relaxing instrumental through and through, another great cut to listen to. Worth your ears for sure.
We’re Here begins with some oddly treated guitar parts, followed quickly by the rest of the band. Vocals kick in, and some pretty, imaginative and Psychedelic lyrics emerge. This piece has a breakdown early on into it, which is very strange. Credit must go to the Meat Puppets for their imagination and artistry. Miles ahead of other contemporaries musically, such as Black Flag, as good as they were, this is a wonderfully crafted and brilliant listening experience throughout. The delayed guitar solo is magical. The verses resume, and this piece gradually wraps up. Excellent.
Climbing begins with some more luscious acoustic guitars, some very minimal singing and sounds like a bit of a postmodern Country tune, even though some Country music is equal to this in overall musical quality. Still, this tune is boundary destroying musically and worth repeated listens. Entertaining, awesome and beautiful to listen to, the ambivalent and bored sounding vocals on this tune are deliberate. The solo section has what sounds like a Mandolin being played. Very pretty and timeless listening, this sounds amazing. The tune here is 100% worth it. Artistry set to music, a fine tune indeed.
New Gods begins with some guitar feedback and creaking, quickly launching into a straightforward Hardcore Punk tune that is like a musical punch in the face. The Meat Puppets do an excellent job here, and the whole tune is a nonsensical tale which is odd. Some really discordant guitar solos are present here, and this sounds really quirky as a result. Fast, simple and powerful, the Meat Puppets are incredibly awesome on this record. It ends with sustained guitars after just over two minutes. Good job.
Oh, Me begins with some rather bored and slacker sounding singing, deliberately. This is matched by clean guitar sounds and some simple instrumentation that works incredibly well. A sweet and mellow tune that is one of the better songs from this album. There is a proto-Grunge approach of going quiet/loud here, along with the minimal and pretty orchestration throughout. A wonderful and joyous listen, the singing is a bit of a wail here, but it is intentionally so, unlike other musicians today. A relaxed and chilled sort of tune that demands to be heard. Towards the end, things get more subtle with the backing band only, before concluding nicely with a cool drum roll. Great.
Lake Of Fire begins with some tom-tom drums, before launching into an interesting tune that sounds very drugged up, at least lyrically. Regardless if drugs are your thing or not, this is a great tune to listen to and enjoy. Some proto-Kurt Cobain wailing and screaming is here, Kurt himself indeed loved the Meat Puppets. An awesome and visually exciting piece, if you can depict sounds as colours. A fine effort throughout.
I’m A Mindless Idiot begins with some nice guitar melodies, acoustic guitar and some basic rhythms that follow. Another great instrumental tune from the very beginning of this track on this album, it does sound very pretty, layered and wonderful. The Meat Puppets obviously were great musicians by this point, and their proof is on this album. The Spanish sounding Classical acoustic guitar present is quite prominent, and it sounds extremely lively. An awesome and enjoyable instrumental from start to finish. A good two-and-a-half-minute song, really excellent to listen to.
The Whistling Song begins with some clean Fender styled guitar chords, before quickly launching into a cool song that sounds really fine, fantastic and awesome. There is some neat whistling throughout, a bit like Don’t Worry, Be Happy per se. Regardless, this again is a very much interesting, well played and well layered tune from start to finish. More whistling is prominent in the second half of the song, sounding very excellent, different and upbeat. A great tune to listen to, the playing and musicianship here are top-notch. Fantastic, it ends with a fade out with “woman” guitar tone and whistling. Awesome.
This is one of the greatest albums of the 1980s, and especially likely the single greatest post-Hardcore Punk album prior to Grunge’s arrival in the late 1980s. Everything about this music is fantastic, with elements of Rock, Punk, Country, Psychedelia and Hardcore, which keep one listening and motivated to listen as such. Should you listen to this album? Absolutely. The album here is a real gem to listen to and is great if you love Punk music and other genres as well. All in all, a truly great classic album indeed.
Imaginative and awesome.