Rise To Your Knees is the first Meat Puppets' album in seven years and trust me, it's one of the best releases of 2007. If only every rock reunion resulted in material this great, the world would be a much better place.
Comprised of simple, easygoing melodies, hallucinatory atmospheres, layers of rich sonic tapestries, and exotic instrumentation from the use of a "guit-jo" — a six-string banjo that lends the song "Tiny Kingdom" a lush Americana feel — and Cris Kirkwood's mood-altering keyboards, Rise To Your Knees is a typical Meat Puppets' effort. It's strange and wonderful, and unlike anything you'll ever hear.
Its diversity is incredible, offering a range of heavy, moody doses of desert, stoner psychedelia, traces of punk and rich country finery that blend into one another like scenes from a dark, avant-garde movie. It's sort of like its own musical ecosystem, swampy and mysterious, but also trippy and scary in some parts, and comfortably melodic in others.
To Curt Kirkwood, it feels more like a proper followup to the Meat Puppets' classic Meat Puppets II. In a recent interview with Goldmine, Curt compared the two records.
"Yeah, I think so, for sure," says Curt. "It has a cool variety of styles, which Meat Puppets II had. Other albums became more consistent after that — like Up On The Sun. In terms of like track to track, it's an album, but those songs tend to run together more than the ones on Meat Puppets II do to me. And I think that was the concept we were looking for, trying to find some uniformity, because we found ourselves to be kind of thinly spread sometimes, and we'd look at other bands and go, 'How did you do this? How do you make this happen?' That's what people seem to like, that the band is recognizable."
In essence, the Meat Puppets are still trying to find their identity.
"We really just didn't know what we sounded like," says Curt. "We try to do it like ... I think we felt that only certain people could get it, and if we didn't do things a little more ... just try to make it more of a whole as an album. We just weren't really sure, and we still try to experiment, and we would up with an album that just didn't have the sonic variations. And there's also the spirit thing. I think there's a good, strange kind of buzz to an album that reminds me of it a lot of times. Although it sounds kind of vague, it is a vibe thing, it's like it has a similar electricity."
To read more about the Meat Puppets return to glory, check out the upcoming issue of Goldmine, dated July 20. The Meat Puppets' new album streets July 17. Check it out. And to learn more about the Meat Puppets and their label, Anodyne Records, visit www.meatpuppets.com or www.anodynerecords.com.