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Album Review

Puppets put it all 'Together'

May 11, 2009
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Indie Rock
Meat Puppets Sewn Together
Megaforce
ESSENTIAL "Clone"
Meat Puppets plays June 10 at the Paradise Rock Club.

The number of ingredients found in a Meat Puppets record is impressive, but the way the band blends those pieces is what's truly astonishing. At its best, Arizona's Meat Puppets makes you think there are no boundaries between punk, country, and pop. The appropriately named "Sewn Together" finds 50-year-old Curt Kirkwood and his 48-year-old brother Cris Kirkwood crafting mongrel music as fine as anything in the band's catalog. With drummer Ted Marcus fitting in nearly as snugly as original beat keeper Derrick Bostrom and some colorful assistance from keyboard player William Joseph, guitarist-singer Curt and bass-playing bro Cris conjure a fresh iteration of Meat Puppets' desert rock. The group's signatures are all here: the loping honky-tonk rhythms, the piercing punk wordplay, and the psychedelic glint that makes even the mellowest passages sound a little nervous. Cris reunited with Curt in 2007 after a 12-year absence from the band and the working partnership sounds fully healed. While the band prefers unpolished production true to its origins in the early-'80s punk scene, its keen sense of melody shines on the title track and the eerie "Clone." The most punk thing about Meat Puppets is its fiercely independent spirit, exemplified by the way Curt balances his tumbleweed guitar-picking with the occasional Hendrixian squall on the vital new track "Blanket of Weeds." The album ends with "Love Mountain," a buoyant song that suggests the Kirkwoods are in a good place. (Out tomorrow) SCOTT McLENNAN