A rebellious anomaly in music, the Meat Puppets have always been all over the place. In one sense, they are bluegrass, and in another grunge; on one hand they are a drug trip band, and on the other a moral one. Somehow, despite that confusion, the real anomaly is that they sell well. They have harvested a niche and they do it well.
On Dusty Notes, the Meat Puppets, in a more mature way, stay true to form, from the early single, “Nine Pins”, classic bluegrass, to the ending nod towards the title in piano filled “Outflow”. Where to start then, in an album as varied as ever, the release is a little up and down, but mostly it is impressive, so just look for a favorite genre.
Go with “Nightcap” or “Dusty Notes” itself if you want something truly new, there is some Simon and Garfunkel vibe here, or look to the ending “Outflow” if interested in U.K. music, there is some The Monochrome Set spaz here. Want something more traditional, “Vampyr’s Winged Fantasy“ should be up the punk Meat Puppets alley, it actually has some Kyuss in it, and even more so, “Unfrozen Memory” has some grunge too, maybe Local H, or sure Meat Puppets pal Nirvana (QRO review of Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged DVD with Meat Puppets guest-starring).
If none of those traditional numbers work, there are some that are just plain groovy, full of energy, like ”The Great Awakening”, or back to “Dusty Notes”, which are both in the ones seemingly off the Meat Puppets map. As is far-reaching, piano-filled “Sea if Heartbreak” or the less amazing trip of “Warranty”, and the more amazing folk in “On”. Still, most of these songs are really good and true to the idea of Meat Puppets trippiness, besides they really are just gravy, the core songs are above par.
In a way, the Meat Puppets are better than ever, similar to previous hems and haws, but freer and yes, overall tighter and even more experimental. Dusty Notes is what is promised with the name, well composed and by the Meat Puppets.