Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review #141: Meat Puppets - Up On the Sun (1985)


Year: 1985
Genre: Punk Rock, Folk Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Sub-Genres: Post-Punk
Label: SST Records
Tracks: 12
Length: 33 Minutes
Style: Happy
My Rating: 6/8

Even in the beginning, the Meat Puppets were always a little different from their hardcore brethren -- they frequently injected psychedelic rock elements into otherwise thrashy songs, had a taste for country music, and a bizarre LSD-influenced sense of humor. Of course, this uniqueness attracted the attention of none other than SST Records, who released their first LP. By 1984, they came out with their second album, which was very different from the first, and expanded fully upon their new country and folk-influenced style of music. Curt now sings in an earthy, warbly voice rather than a raving Darby Crash-like growl, and the music became mostly slower, and less hardcore-oriented. In 1985, the band released their third album and fourth release in total, "Up On the Sun", which expanded on the sound of "Meat Puppets II", and it was not very popular with most of the hardcore crowd at all. However, this release was one of the various albums in the year 1985 which marked the beginning of a new movement which eventually broke into the mainstream in the early '90s. But enough with that. Now's the time to listen to "Up On the Sun", the third Meat Puppets album ('cause I've already reviewed everything before this)!!

1. Up On the Sun
Mid-paced beat. Strong bass, noodly little guitar sounds, and calm, clean vocals from Curt Kirkwood. In some parts, there's a bit of vocal harmonizing going on 'tween the Kirkwood brothers. Very folky guitar sound.

2. Maiden's Milk
Very neat-sounding guitar playing in the intro part! Both the bass guitar and lead guitar play in harmony, going up and down the scale, sounding great. The lead guitar really sounds nice on this song. After that, the song speeds up a little, and the bass-line here is great in just about all parts. Beautiful lead guitar. Reminds me of ice and snow and stuff. Everyone's whistling... there's no lyrics, so I guess that means it's virtually an instrumental aside from the whistling. In the later parts of this song, there's another beautiful, deeper-sounding lead guitar two-note tone going on. It sounds like a ringing bell. It's a really nice song.

3. Away
Similar speed to the song before it. Beautiful harmonized vocals in the chorus section. The vocals sound a bit mumbly in other parts, but in a good way. In some parts, the guitar sounds really twangy like a banjo or something. Definitely one of the best songs on the album!

4. Animal Kingdom
Even faster than the song before it! This song's evidentally about animal kingdoms being everywhere... amazing, ain't it?? There's weird animal-ish sounds being made with the guitars also. Pretty neat. It's actually one of the shortest songs on the album... just a minute and twenty seconds.

5. Hot Pink
Another song I enjoy a lot. It takes the speed down a few notches, and there's really good vocal harmonies here. Great bass guitar melody in the build-up to the chorus section, combined with those funky little lead guitar melodies that overlap. And then in the chorus, the lead guitar sounds like an 'Animal Kingdom' itself... I used to have these little cassette tapes about "Frog and Toad" when I was really young, and the theme tune for those tapes sounded like the lead guitar on that part of the song... probably why I associate it with animals! But yes, this album's about all sorts of things that are the color of HOT PINK. "Pink"... te-he!!

6. Swimming Ground
They made a 7" single for this song a couple years later. This one's pretty fast, and the guitar melody here sounds really nice with the effect they used for the guitar here! A little bit of falsetto background vocals here. Kurt sings here about how one of his favorite places he knows of was a little swimming ground far away from civilization. After this song ends, so does Side A of this album... let's listen to what's on the other side, now.

7. Buckethead
The guitar here almost sounds like ska in some parts. In other parts it just sounds like folk music on speed. Great bass melody, once again. These Puppets of Meat sure are talented musikians, hur hur! In the mid-section, there's a spacey part with echo-y sounds of guitar strokes and little animals from the Animal Kingdom. The melody goes up a couple octaves in the ending part... something done in a lot of pop music but rarely ever in punk rock.

8. Too Real
Typical Meat Puppets power-folk with a little bit of Black Flag-style punk-metal riffage sandwiched inbetween. And this evolves into a nice guitar solo starting in the middle of the song.

9. Enchanted Pork Fist
Starts out with a very fast section, similar in speed to their early work! Sorry, but when I hear "Enchanted Pork Fist", I giggle a little bit. Just sounds funny. The song slows down a bit for the main parts of the song. Holy shit, they must've eaten those RED PISTACHIOS! I never could figure out why they made red ones, I mean, they just painted they red, and like the song says, they really DID get your figures red! I dunno what was the point of it. Great psychedelic-sounding guitar solo mid-song. The song ends in a manner similar to how it began.

10. Seal Whales
I bet a Seal Whale would be really cute. I bet they WERE really cute, until they all were killed in a mass-extinction when the sharks realized how fucking TASTY they were! This song iz another instrumental piece, with folk guitar playing and stuff. There's one part about 2/3 into the song where there's a bunch of false endings, but by the end of the song it's all back to normal n' shtuff.

11. Two Rivers
Another fast type of song. Watery guitar melodies, and a dark bass riff. One-third into the song, Curt begins singing in a lonely, echoey voice. It's a tad mysterious-feeling.

12. Creator
Yup, this one's pretty fast too. It's quite energetic, with really nice guitar melodies. I swear I heard him say something about alligators. That's kind of funny. "Making love to open windows"? Gotta have a HUGE dick to do THAT!! Anyways, this song's not very long, so, there's not much I can say, but it's pretty good.

So, THAT is "Up On the Sun". This iz probably the most recent Meat Puppets album I've ever listened to, so as I expand my knowledge of these meaty ol' puppets, I will try to bring you more reviews of them. In some ways I enjoy this one more than "Meat Puppets II", but in other ways I don't. It's not quite as raw or "punk" feeling as Meat Puppets II, but it sure does have some really good songs which all have a really good sound and feel to them. A lot more psychedelic folk stuff going on here. I wouldn't say this one places as much emphasis on country either, here. But yeah, Up On the Sun is good and you should listen to it! Stay Legit.

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Maiden's Milk
2. Hot Pink
3. Away

No comments:

Post a Comment