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Meat Puppets II, Meat Puppets

SST, 1983

Track Listing: 1. Split Myself In Two, 2. Magic Toy Missing, 3. Lost, 4. Plateau, 5. Aurora Borealis 6. We’re Here, 7. Climbing, 8. New Gods, 9. Oh, Me, 10. Lake Of Fire, 11. I’m A Mindless Idiot, 12. The Whistling Song

The fog had a heartbeat. It rolled in out of nowhere, alive, like in John Carpenter’s The Fog. Another Meat Puppets show had begun. We were, in the words of the puppets themselves, attacked by monsters.

It continued in waves from three separate directions, pulsating to form an unbelievable unification of hardcore brute punk force, controlled rock power, and delicate country finger-picking. The three fronts crashed into one another to form the perfect storm. Curt came in on guitar from the east like a hurricane, colliding with his wild, untamed, westward brother Cris on bass, before finally being joined by the hypertension of Derrick Bostrom’s relentless beats from the south. A massive undertow maelstrom of hellishly furious waves swallowed you up only to spit you back out.

The Kirkwood brothers were as versatile as a Swiss Army Knife. They could serve up a side order of soft harmonies and acoustic playfulness or they could kick it right back into an electric onslaught. They could whistle like horny birds or they could squeal like pigs at the trough.

Live, the Puppets sometimes seemed like they only knew two speeds, lightning fast and faster still. To be so tight at such frenetic speeds just doesn’t seem right. They were a three-headed monster.

Meat Puppets II provides a great view of the multi-dimensional puppet show. The trademark live frenzy, the alt-country marriage of bluegrass, punk, and country, the bubbles of pyschedelia, the hard rock screech, and even the slower, slimy acoustic grime. Like much of the subsequent Meat Puppets catalog, Meat Puppets II offers a little for everyone, not least of which is an overriding offbeat humor that is as much fun as the music itself.