Meat Puppets

No Joke!

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Too High to Die was a surprise success in 1994, so it's not a big surprise that The Meat Puppets didn't mess with the formula for their follow-up, No Joke! Not that the band's essential sound has changed all that much over the years -- it's still a warped, sun-fried amalgam of punk, Southern rock, heavy metal, and country. For Too High to Die, they had not only streamlined their approach enough to appeal to a wider audience, but the music world had changed enough to make them seem like a mainstream rock & roll band. No Joke! might have a heavier production than its predecessor, but the tunes and riffs are cut from the same mold as before. It's an extremely competent album and is frequently enjoyable, but it doesn't have the same wild spark as their mid-'80s classics, nor does it have the bizarre sense of humor -- which makes No Joke! just an average Meat Puppets record.

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