The Meat Puppets of Rat Farm, coming later this month on Megaforce Records, are a far cry from the uncouth howlers you probably first encountered via Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged In New York. The Kirkwoods now trade in smooth, sleek guitar pop.
This is how they arrived at so-called “real blown-up folk music,” as Curt Kirkwood calls it: Harmonized coos have replaced feral wails. Rather than ragged, immediate production, there’s studio polish galore. Tempos have been deflated from mad rush to easygoing drift.
It feels saner and safer than the rugged records of yore, but their songwriting skills are still intact, and chances are they’ll roar through some of the wilder material during Sunday’s early show with The Cringe.