Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review #2: Meat Puppets - In a Car (EP) (1981)

Year: 1981
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore
Label: Word Imitation Records
Tracks: 5
Length: 5 Minutes (Very Short)
Style: Angry/Weird

My Rating: 6/8

Long before the Meat Puppets performed with Nirvana on MTV, or became known for their more mellow, folksy-type music, they were one of the most intensely weird and crazy bands around. Hailing from Arizona, these guys even then were not your average bread & butter punk band. "In a Car" is the first record they released, and it's only about 5 minutes long. It features violent, thrashing drums, ear-slicing guitars, and hyper, unintelligible screams and vocals fuelled by LSD and being a punk rocker in a boring part of the desert, which I admire very much. The album sounds more psycho than a Germs live concert in the '70s. This album is very short, so I think it's appropriate that this review should also be short. That, and I just wrote a long Butthole Surfers review. Anyway, here we go:

1. In a Car
Starting with bass, then kicking into full throttle, this is a fast song that reminds me of aimlessly running through the hot sun (or driving "in a car"). Something fast. Kurt Kirkwood's vocals sound really high-pitched and raspy, which for some reason makes me feel like the creature on the cover of the album is actually singing instead of a person. The vocals get progressively more uneasy towards the end, and you gotta love the constant crashing of the drums.

2. Big House
This one sounds happy for some reason. The singing almost sounds like some sort of prototype for Kurt Cobain's style of singing (which wasn't supposed to be that clear either). The only intelligible lyric in the whole song is, well, in the title. I also noticed that the speed seems to go a few notches down later on in the song.

3. Dolphin Field
LOTS of screaming. Still, I could imagine a lot of screamo-listening bastards hating this anyways for its unpolished sound and lack of pussyish sounds. More interestingly, I'd like to see one of them "dolphin fields". Maybe it's a thing in Arizona that is kept secret from the rest of the;las;dlsad

4. Out in the Gardener
NOT "Out in the Garden"... it's "Out in the Gardener". Maybe Kurt Kirkwood was banging a gardener when he thought of the title for this song. But anyways, this is an intrumental track, and it's mostly got some interesting trippy guitar-work and a bouncy beat.

5. Foreign Lawns
Like, lawns in Mexico or Japan or Germany, I suppose. This is my favorite track on the album, and it's also the shortest. It's almost funny listening to how ridiculous those screams sound. Almost sounds like Darby Crash for a brief moment or two. The song ends with an out-of-place clean-sounding strum of the guitar. But anyways, that's the end!

The Meat Puppets did another album of this style in the next year, but maybe never anything this aggressive ever again. In that album, they would begin experimenting with elements of country music, and after that, they invented "cowpunk" in their famous 1984 work, "Meat Puppets II."

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