Having formed over thirty years ago, the Meat Puppets are back again with lucky number thirteen, Lollipop. It can be argued by the purists that the Puppets’ sound has changed drastically since their first release–and theyâ€™d be correct–but somehow every release, no matter how different, is always undisputedly pure Meat Puppets. Despite being all over the place, their vibe always manages to come across loud and clear, which is great considering how many longtime bands lose their way.
Just to show how much their current songs are interchangeable with the older stuff, Lollipop even opens with a song that was written back in the early 80’s, called â€œIncomplete.â€ Curt Kirkwoodâ€™s trademark sleepy vocals kick right in and are soon joined by the soothing harmony vocals of brother/bassist Chris Kirkwood. Itâ€™s enough to instantly put a smile on a loyal Puppets fanâ€™s face and it doesnâ€™t feel out of place with the new compositions at all.
To be perfectly honest, the album seemed a bit tame upon first hearing it. (Curt mustâ€™ve forgotten to bring his distortion pedal to the studio for this recording.) But after a couple of spins, the songs were so embedded in my head, I forgot that I was listening to a new Meat Puppets album and not one Iâ€™ve been enjoying for years. Very catchy stuff.
One of the coolest and heavier tracks (which is really only heavy in contrast to the rest of the album) is “Way That It Are.â€ The Brothers Kirkwood really shine here vocally and groove-wise. Other standouts for me are the ska-like â€œShave It,â€ rockabilly â€œBaby Donâ€™t,â€ and â€œDamn Thing,â€ which is classic Meat Puppets. It would have easily fit in on older releases like Forbidden Places or Too High To Die.
Following one of the Puppetsâ€™ formulas, Lollipop ends with a fun, heavily country-influenced tune in â€œThe Spider and the Spaceship.â€ Overall, Lollipop is more than worthy of it place amongst some of the bandâ€™s most popular classic albums. It is yet another strong offering from the boys out west who obviously have not lost a step in all these years.