The seminal Phoenix trio's self-titled debut
is one of the greatest hard-core punk records ever made--but it pissed the punk kids off. Whether it was the Meat Puppets' long hair (in '81!) or their set-opener "The King and I" it was hard to say. Yet they were reviled. Still, they broadened their horizons, mixing up their weird full-on frantic hardcore style with some Tex-Mex, some bluegrass, and a little desert sun. The result? The cultural icon Meat Puppets II
, a landmark album that resonates with the acid trails and heat-driven madness of southwest America. (As a whole generation of musicians, from Dinosaur Jr.
's J. Mascis to Nirvana
's Kurt Cobain and downwards, can attest.) Curt Kirkwood's dislocated guitar style veers between hillbilly, heavy metal, psychedelic, and the Oak Ridge Boys
. His brother's bass sound is endearingly fallible. A wonderful, eccentric record (with seven bonus tracks!). --Everett True
"Meat Puppets II" was a 180-degree departure from its predecessor, confusing old fans and creating new ones. Kurt Loder gave it a four-star review in Rolling Stone, calling it "one of the funniest and most enjoyable albums of 1984", while a bewildered Robert Hilburn proclaimed the Puppets "far more of an acquired promising though willfully unfocused rock act" in the Los Angeles Times. For this reissue, the album has been expanded to include 7 additional tracks: