December 12, 2008
Curt Kirkwood - Snow (Little Dog, 2005)...
Kirkwood's been recording for well over 20 years now. In the early 1980s, he formed the Meat Puppets with brother Cris on bass and their friend Derek Bostrom on drums. In 10 albums over about a dozen years, the "Pups" were one of the most influential underground bands. Born out of their desert home in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, the Meat Puppets sound blended disparate elements of country, metal, acid rock and hardcore punk. Their lyrics, most by Curt, drew on imagery from nature and dadaist poetry fueled by cannabis and psychedelics. The brothers sang purposely in close, frequently dissonant harmonies that paid ironic homage to sibling duos that came before. It was a glorious mess, and it inspired bands from Minneapolis to Seattle that later formed the core of the grunge and indie-rock movements of the '90s and beyond. The band imploded in the face of near fame and Cris Kirkwood's heroin addiction in the late '90s. Curt moved to Austin, played in a couple of other short-lived bands, and did a little solo touring with the likes of Jerry Joseph. Momentum picked up when he reunited in Austin with Anderson, who had produced the Pups 1991 major-label debut, Forbidden Places. Snow finds Kirkwood playing mostly acoustic guitars and penning some songs that, while retaining his signature lyrical flourishes, often touch closer to the heart than most anything he's recorded before. The most radio-friendly is the opener. "Golden Lies," carrying the same title as the last Meat Puppets album (also known as Meat Puppets 2.0, since Kirkwood was the only original member), has typical Kirkwood non-sequitur lyrics like "giant spiders are heavenly spies," and a catchy chorus, "Golden swans on the desert / recite golden lies." It's all delivered in Curt's distinctive quavery light baritone over a simply strummed acoustic guitar; pedal steel and piano fills add color.
Posted by Stiles