Let me just start off by saying this is one of my favorite Meat Puppets records.I am aware of fact that this is NOT considered in the top tier of their studio efforts, and there are really good reasons for this. One of the main reasons is that it was recorded one part at a time, layering solos over drum-machines one by one. This does detract from the experiance- the Puppets are always best recording as if playing live, which gives a more organic sound, both stylistically and acoustically.
There are other problems too, mainly that drum machine which dates this record badly. The great thing about albums like "Up On The Sun" is that they sound so organic and original that years later (many years later) they still sound cutting edge. This record does NOT sound cutting edge, but its still one hell of a record and its important to remember that the Meat Puppets were one of the bands pioneering the alt-rock sound that would (a few years later) dominate the radio.
The sound here is heavy, and reminds me alot of early Alice In Chains to be honest, but what puts this over any Chains record I own is the guitar work. Its simply outstanding, the soaring solo's provided by Curt Kirkwood own this record. They also make the biggest statment about his playing- if you have any doubts about Curt Kirkwood as an outstanding axeman- look no further than this record. There are also some great jams here, more than a few of the tracks are stretched out beyond the six minute mark and there is an all instumental "Flight Of The Fire Weasel" that will have you playing air-guitar in no time. One of the best workouts on this album is the jam on the end of "Touchdown King".
I like the production alot, its crisp and clear and I dont mind that it sounds so much like a studio recording - because you already know that due to the reverb of the drum machine- so it works. The guitars always seem in the distance as if in their own little world, alot like Larry LaLonde's work on Primus' albums. Again, I like it, it gives a ambient psychadelic quality.
This is another side of the Meat Puppets. Its hard hitting and self-indulgent for sure. Thats the thing about these guys though, you got somthing different on each record. You might love them all as I do, or maybe some of them dont quite work for you.......but they are all worth a listen. Just another facet of a truly unique band. For me this one works in particular- and what does it is the swirling psychadelic guitar noise, but thats not everybody's cup of tea. What is certain though is that if you are a Meat Puppets fan, you have gotten pretty good looking past their flaws to appreciate the genius. This one is no exception.