Sewn Together – The Meat Puppets
If youve ever taken the time to notice the incompetence of language, then you know its preposterous to make any statement but the most obvious. So lets start there: the Meat Puppets are good at writing songs. (Obvious statements fit the Meat Puppets considering their name means, Humans.) Their lead singer and guitarist Curt Kirkwood can warble better than the saddest of all sad canaries, and he was born with an ability to write hooks analogous to Dick Cheneys ability to scare the shit out of the American people. Kirkwood is also an underrated guitarist, illustrated by his pellucid solo on the albums opener, Saphire, and his psychedelic wah-wah on the title track. He even adds some boss mandolin to Blanket of Weeds and Im Not You.
On Sewn Together, the Meat Puppets twelfth studio album, Kirkwood is backed by his brother, bassist and vocalist, Cris Kirkwood, and original drummer, Ted Marcus. The Meat Puppets have had their share of troubles, but this is a happy album, perhaps summed up best by the last lines from the last song, Love Mountain: Ooh, its raining, but I feel so fine. Ooh, its raining, raining bright sunshine.
On Smoke, like many of the tracks, the brothers Kirkwood blend their voices in a manner that speaks to the Meat Puppets being a band for nearly thirty years. Hiding in the track is some graceful acoustic guitar, similar to Charlie McCoys playing on Bob Dylans Desolation Row from Highway 61 Revisited, arguably some of the most beautiful guitar in all of rock history. The penultimate track of the album is The Monkey and the Snake, which features whistling, key changes, proof that this band loves playing with each other again (they were broken up for a decade), and these lyrics, This is the story of the history of night. From the beginning, it has never seen the light. It takes a while to never understand. It holds the gift of darkness in its hands. . .
I have to stop myself from transcribing all of the lyrics because they are just that good. I also have to stop myself from listening to this album too many times in a single day because it is just that good. Again and again and again, it occurs to me that popular music is in one of its most bizarre periods: a period in which access to incredible bands making incredible music is unprecedented, yet what is most popular is so bad one feels like scratching out their ears in some sort of quasi-King Lear I have no way, and therefore want no ears ritual. That is why it is a wonderful thing that the Meat Puppets are back together again. They make the ears want to hear, the heart want to love, and the soul want to shine in the bright sunlight of beautiful music.