The Meat Puppets are rocking again. The third album since bassist Cris Kirkwood’s return after his struggle with addiction is the most rocking and grooving since 1984’s Meat Puppets II. That album’s irresistible sloppiness is now a polished, catchy feast of crunchy guitars and two-part harmonies made to order for ignition in a live setting. And Kirkwood couldn’t have a better partner in crime in the rhythmic section: Shandon Sahm. Doug’s youngest son fits the group like a glove — he’s both smooth and gutsy. The waltzy “Town” is a beautiful folk song that should remind us of how capable the Meat Puppets are at writing first-class tunes (that, and the voices, are the reasons Kurt Cobain invited them to share Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged). The first single, “Damn Thing,” is pure dynamite: a mid-tempo rocker with a killer bridge and a serial-killer hook that catches you with your pants down. Sahm leads the attack, and the brothers’ harmonies take you to the Vaikuntha realm. All their albums from the ’80s will be reissued next year, and some will be pressed on vinyl. While that’s great to hear, make no mistake — today’s Meat Puppets are as relevant as a band can get.
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