Dusty Notes

Meat Puppets

Megaforce, 2019


REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


On this, the Puppets’ first album in six years, they are finally reunited with original drummer Derrick Bostrom and all seems almost right in the world again. Things seems comfortable in Puppets world again, and many tracks on the record reflect this.

From the opening notes of the downtempo opening track, “Warranty,” the band seems focused and ready to keep playing like they always have. Curt Kirkwood’s vocals are as strong as ever and Bostrom’s steady beat help keep this song alive and alert.

The slow burner “On” is one of the best tracks here; it’s just a tasty ballad that goes down smooth. The down-home hootenanny of “Nine Pins” showcases how ready the Puppets is to attack anything. Whether it be country or alternative, they can handle it. The album’s title track showcases some horns and some great harmonies from the brothers Kirkwood. With the horns and the subtle guitar playing, it wouldn’t feel out of a place on a Willie album.

One would never know that Bostrom more or less hadn’t been playing much since he departed in 1996. “The Great Awakening” is a good example of just how in the pocket he still is even after all this time away from the kit. There are simple beats, not too many exciting things happening here, but Bostrom is still reliable and might go down as one of the more underrated drummers of the punk/SST era.

“Nightcap” is a great little folky number, showcasing how even though the Puppets has turned down the volume over the last few years, they’re still capable of cranking out great material. As they enter their fourth decade of existence, they’re still viable, relevant, and notable. But on “Vampyr’s Winged Fantasy,” the band roars back at thundering power. Quite a surprise considering the rest of the disc, but a great addition. Damn, these guys can burn!

Considering there was a lot of hype around this record when it was announced, it’s easy to say that the band lived up to it all and delivered one of the best late-era discs of their already illustrious career.

Rating: B+

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