It kind of crushed me a couple years ago when the Kirkwood brothers got the Meat Puppets back together, after a decade of Cris spiraling downward into drug addiction and prison, and Curt recording a series of widely ignored albums with other projects, and the album they ended up with, Rise To Your Knees, was dull as dishwater. It should've been a triumphant rekindling of their musical chemistry, or at least a respectably rusty return, especially considering how well onetime contemporaries like Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth have transitioned into middle age. Instead, it was just as bad as Golden Lies, the album Curt did with a new band in 2000 but called the Meat Puppets.
So, in a way, their new album, Sewn Together is a big relief, just for being merely decent. On a level playing field, it's probably equal to older middle-tier Meat Puppets albums like Mirage or Forbidden Places, not classic material but not bad either. Their show here last year had enough of their loose, shambling dynamic of the old days that I had hope that there was still a little sloppy magic in there, and it does show up. The whimsy of songs like "The Monkey And The Snake" operates more as a barometer of the Kirkwoods' overall mood than an indicator of the album's strength, but their best albums always had some really light material that made the more serious stuff sound even better. If they keep this incarnation of the band going indefinitely into the future, I'd love to see if they get more and more back into the groove with each successive album.