Meat Puppets - "Huevos" CD Review (MVD Audio) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Meat Puppets - "Huevos" CD Review (MVD Audio)

DOWNLOAD: Meat Puppets - Live @ Variety Arts Center, Los Angeles, CA 1-22-88

Meat Puppets - Always a prolific band, The Meat Puppets followed the April 1987 release of the very accessible Mirage with Huevos, which came out just six months later. This time out, the band are going for a bluesy, riff-rock power trio sound akin to the James Gang or ZZ Top. In the liner notes for the reissue, Derrick Bostrom said: “At this stage of our career, we weren’t punk enough for our old fans and we were too punk for our new ones...we decided we’d hit a ceiling with SST and developed the self-defeating attitude that as long as we were on an indie label, there wasn’t much sense in putting as much time and effort into out albums as we had with Mirage. For Huevos then, we took the directly opposite course: we vowed to finish the album in a week.

Like Mirage, Huevos is very accessible and, retrospectively, seems to pre-date the alt-rock explosion of the 90’s. The disc’s sound centers around Curt’s thick guitar riffs and upfront (and reasonably) clear vocals, both of which are accentuated with a raw “live in the studio” production. A number of website cite a Musician magazine interview where Curt Kirkwood claimed that a fan letter he had received from ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons inspired a songwriting spree that resulted in many of Huevos' tracks. Derrick Bostrom mentions in the liner notes that a handful of the other tracks on this disc were leftovers from Mirage. While the songs on this disc come close to replicating the band’s live sound, the bonus video of “Automatic Mojo” (filmed at the Variety Arts Center in Los Angeles, Jan. ’88) shows the band playing more aggressively in the live setting.

There are a handful of standout tracks on this disc – “Paradise", "Automatic Mojo" and the brilliant "Sexy Music" – but one of the challenges of the disc is that too many of the rough edges have been smoothed off. This disc is extremely radio friendly, which shows that the Pups should have exploded long before Cobain and Too High to Die, but long-time fans will likely miss the eccentricities and raw intensity of the band’s earlier albums.

Moving over to the bonus tracks, most of these are ‘snoozers’ as four of the five bonus tracks are instrumental versions of album tracks that are extremely close to the final version. The one interesting bonus track is “Baby Want You Want Me to Do” which combines the words from “I Can’t Be Counted On” with the music of “Baby What You Want Me to Do” (a Jimmy Reed song that the Pups used to cover in concert).

Huevos Bonus Tracks:
1. "Baby What You Want Me to Do" - 1:29
2. "Sexy Music (Demo Version)" - 6:40
3. "Automatic Mojo (Demo Version)" - 3:56
4. "Paradise (Demo Version)" - 4:06
5. "Fruit (Demo Version)" - 5:20

Meat Puppets