If there was one thing that stands out amongst all recordings done by Curt Kirkwood, it would be the diversity. From the incoherent punk screams resonating from the Meat Puppets debut back in 1982, to the steady sounds of folk and psychedelic that set the stage for what would be known as 90's alternative, to the eerie acoustic tracks found on his 2005 debut solo effort, all music put out by this particular artist has something fresh and relevant to say. Forming Meat Puppets with brother Chris and new found friend Derrick Bostrom, Curt soon pushed out of Arizona with critically worshiped albums such as 1983's Meat Puppets II and 1985's Up On The Sun. It wasn’t until performing on Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in 1994, however, that the Meat Puppets obtained mainstream attention. To High To Die, with the hit single “Backwater”, proved to be the Meat Puppets last great commercial stand, since 1995's follow-up No Joke failed to climb due to the bands abrupt disassembly. 2000 did see a rebirth of the Meat Puppets, although, as Curt Kirkwood collected a new rhythm section and released a straight-forward heavy rock album titled “Golden Lies”, but the new lineup failed to appeal to the bands cult following. The chance of the original members reuniting was put on halt due to Chris Kirkwood’s incarceration, so Curt left the name and decided to start new. In 2002, Curt Kirkwood, former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, and former Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh, released Eyes Adrift. The band of the same name was sadly short-lived, as Krist left to pursue his political platform. Curt and Bud did however continue together, forming a new band titled Volcano, but Curt soon focused his energy towards a solo project.
The project of which has released a debut titled “Snow”, which was produced by Pete Anderson who had once worked with the Meat Puppets back in 1991. Consisting of Curt Kirkwood at the helm with vocals and acoustic guitar, Snow is a stripped down effort featuring 10 songs of impressive guitar dynamics and imagery painted thick with Curt’s staple writing style. Since Curt had always been the one who wrote the bulk of Meat Puppets, Eyes Adrift, and Volcano material, it is no surprise that his solo album holds close resemblance to those bands. Although, considering how each album has always sounded different from the next, Snow is no exception to holding its own particular feel.
Snow opens with “Golden Lies”, which sets a perfect premise for the album with laid back acoustic guitar and steady drums accompanied with ethereal sounds that set the tone. An example of the interesting imagery used on the album is found on the title track, “Snow”, with the line “It seems the sweetest things are hidden in the fire, just like snow settles on barbed wire, and we find our troubles no matter where we are, just like snow settles on barbed wire”. Following is “Beautiful Weapon” and “Box Of Limes”, which both prove to be definite highlights of the album, with catchy hooks and a strong definite energy that reflect the classic songwriter who has had a strong influence on bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Next is the calm and eerie “Gold”, which features cello that creates a haunting atmosphere that begs strict attention. The second half of the album, which consists of the quirky “Light Bulb” that even brings trumpet to the mix and the spacey “In Bone”, seals the deal on one of the craftiest and addictive albums in recent years.
For anyone unfamiliar with Curt Kirkwood but enjoys listening to anyone from Bob Dylan to Beck, Snow is definitely worth a listen. For anyone who is a fan of the Meat Puppets, or Curt’s work with Bud Gaugh, Snow may pull a few punches but will surely sit quite nicely next to the rest of your collection. Like all Kirkwood albums, it may take a while to really grab you, but the few bucks you shell out to get it will be worth while once it does.