Meat Puppets

In a Car

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In a Car, the Meat Puppets' five-song debut EP, is essentially a five-song punk goof that paves the way for the Phoenix trio's spotty but integral first album (actually an EP itself) that would follow soon after. Unlike the country-soaked, psychedelic punk records that they would make beginning with their classic second album II, but very much like that first self-titled effort, the Meat Puppets' thrashing and slicing into early-'80s hardcore conventions here is hardly distinguishable and barely listenable. But it is done for laughs; the band never felt comfortable in the punk scene (hence the drastic stylistic shift of II), and In a Car is the band's mocking take on L.A.'s nihilistic suburban punks. But just because they're in on the joke doesn't necessarily make it good. Curt and Cris Kirkwood slur every vocal here, and the playing is competent at best, though there are signs of Curt's guitar dexterity reluctantly poking through some of the grooves. A ragged building block to much greater things. Reissued in 1999 on Rykodisc RCD 10466 as part of Meat Puppets.

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